Book Review: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares (Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants #5)
First Published: June 1, 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Chick Lit
Synopsis (from Goodreads): From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Brashares comes the welcome return of the characters whose friendship became a touchstone for a generation. Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.
Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.
Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.
As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one.
Growing up I read the first book in this series and in many ways reading this latest instalment was like welcoming an old friend back into my life. The girls, now women, were true to how I remembered them and yet different.
This novel starts off with Carmen – the youngest of the group. Once an awkward teenager, now a glamorous TV star with a successful fiancé and a gorgeous New York City apartment, Carmen seems to have it all. Lena has embraced her artistic side and is selling her paintings and working at the art college she was attending as a student all those years ago. Bridget is still as impulsive as ever but still with Eric and now living in San Francisco. And Tibby? Well… that seems a bit of a mystery to everyone. Since she moved to Australia two years ago contact has been sporadic at best.
When Tibby gives the other three girls tickets Greece for an impromptu reunion all the women are excited. But what happens on the Grecian island is something that will change their lives forever.
I had some problems with this story. The characters were the same as I remembered and yet different in a way that felt odd to me. I connected so strongly with the girls when I was in my teens. Our struggles were somewhat similar and I could relate to them. But now, they’re facing problems that I haven’t – and hope in many ways that I won’t ever – and whilst I could imagine the things happening to them was right up their alleys, at the same time I didn’t feel the same way with regards to their relationships with me.
This story was in many ways nostalgic but I liked how whilst there were references to the events of the past books, the past wasn’t dwelt upon. The action was in the present. Whilst life hadn’t gone exactly according to plan for all of them, for the most part they weren’t trying to relive their past. I did miss the little letters and emails that prefaced chapters in some of the other books but the quotes before each chapter were fitting.
I felt like Tibby was a little out of character. The message of this book for me is one of friends forever, and as long as you have your sisterhood you’ll never be alone. And yet Tibby embarked on a whole new life without letting the other girls in. It worked in the sense of that mystery was needed to drive the novel to a fitting conclusion but it didn’t sit well for me with regards to the close-knit friendship that the four of them had.
I am a little worried about the sisterhood – Bee in particular. They seem a little too co-dependant. I like the friendship aspect but the ending message that I was left with was that for Bee, she couldn’t exist without the sisterhood and I for me… I’m so very worried about her. I spent the whole novel worrying about her and I hope that the others can help her. (I am aware these are fictional characters.)
This last installment of the Sisterhood was true to the series. In terms of structure and story it closely followed the formula set out by the others – They meet up, they have their seperate adventures and they come together at the end with lessons learnt about life and love. Throw in some overseas travel for good measure. It’s a format that has worked for the other books and worked well for this one too.
It’s an odd thing revisiting the literary friends of your youth and have them grow up without you. I am glad that Ann Brashares wrote a conclusion to the sisterhood’s story.
3 out of 5
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