All Info About Teen Reading

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Thoughts on 3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows

I loved the entire Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, so I was interested in seeing how Ann Brasheres' newest book 3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows would compare.

As three childhood friends face the summer between 8th and 9th grade, it's obvious that they're drifting apart. Jo is more concerned with being part of the "popular" crowd, Ama can't stop focusing on academics, and Polly seems stuck in the past. But they are about to face a surprising summer that will make them reassess their friendship. Polly latches on to the idea of becoming a model. Ama, expecting to attend an academic summer program, instead is placed in a wilderness adventure program, and finds she is not well-suited for roughing it. As Jo's family falls apart and a summer fling causes conflict, she finds out how much the friendship of her new friends is really worth.

I felt that 3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows very accurately depicted the pain of friends growing apart. Brasheres shows her strength in creating interesting and diverse teen female characters that you can really care about. I could also appreciate the overall message of appreciating the deep roots of true friendship.

My one complaint about the book was that the characters talked about the Sisterhood as if everyone in their school was aware of them and their magical pants. If Brasheres had stuck to cameo appearances, I think it would have been a fun nod to fans of the books. When Jo mentions being coached by Bridget at soccer camp or Polly babysits for Tibby's siblings, those of us who read the Sisterhood books could smile knowingly. Instead, it seemed like the author was trying too hard: "Hey, remember everyone, I wrote this really popular series about four best friends who shared a pair of pants?" I just didn't buy that middle school students talked about Carmen, Tibby, Lena and Bridget as mythical figures.

Still, even with that distraction 3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows was an enjoyable book, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Ann Brasheres' work or books about teen friendship and discovery.

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