The Second Summer of the Sisterhood
by Ann Brashares
Reading level: Young Adult
Teens who loved Ann Brashares's The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2001) will cheer its equally riveting sequel The Second Summer of the Sisterhood. As in the first novel, four teen girls who have known each other since birth (their moms shared a pregnancy aerobics class) further forge their bond of friendship through a pair of thrift-store jeans that magically, impossibly, fits them all perfectly.
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Like the summer before, Carmen, Bridget, Tibby, and Lena share their individual adventures with the Pants collective, creating an engaging, kaleidoscopic narrative of four voices. This summer, Tibby attends a film program in Virginia and Bridget (Bee), whose mother has died, impulsively jets off to Alabama to get reacquainted with her estranged grandmother. Lovely Lena tries to protect herself from the heartbreak of loving her long-distance Greek god boyfriend Kostos, and Carmen deals (poorly) with her mother dating again and having the nerve to borrow the Pants!
The Second Summer, while breezy and fun to read, deals seriously with love lost and found, death, and finding the courage to live honestly. The teens' lessons are often painful, but the Sisterhood prevails. Quotations from luminaries such as Charlie Brown ("Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love") to Nelson Mandela ("There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered") open each chapter and cleverly reflect the novel's many moods. (Ages 12 and older)