Book Review: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares


Back Cover Synopsis:

On the cusp of turning thirty, Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget are now living separate lives, out on their own.  Yet 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.

I fell in love with Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget in high school, when I read all the way through the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series.  Ann Brashares’ writing was deep and believable and brilliant then, and she doesn’t disappoint with this follow-up novel.  It is just as amazing as the original five.

Though the characters are quite a bit older now, their voices haven’t changed.  Brashares still uniquely captures each girl’s personality and shows that they’ve matured, but are still in the process of figuring out life, as twenty-somethings must do.  I quickly reconnected with the characters, getting angry at them when they were being stupid, and feeling for them when they share a heart-wrenching tragedy.

Speaking of tragedy, the plot twists in this book are unreal.  There are surprises at every page turn, but oh my gosh.  I felt that something was off  in the characters’ lives at the beginning, but I never, ever would have imagined what happens within the first 60 pages. I never give away spoilers, but if you have read the original series, you will come away from the first few chapters absolutely reeling.  If you haven’t read the originals, it’ll still make an impact, but if you have — be prepared to have your heart skip like twenty beats.

After that, the girls are almost painful to follow.  Bridget makes stupid decisions, as always.  Carmen has to realize that she is truly a good person.  Lena must overcome hiding in her shell.  And Tibby must give up all her secrets.  But watching them grow up and learn how to deal with life is a fascinating and heart-warming struggle.  The characters are nothing if not relatable.

Throughout much of the book, before I knew all the details, I was angry at what happened.  I went through the roller coaster emotions with the girls and had to come to terms with it just as they did.  And then, near the end of the book, we were all thrown for another huge loop.  Ann Brashares, why must you do this to us??

Any book that has me shaking my fist at the author is a damn good one.  Strangely enough, books that cause me emotional trauma are the ones I love the most.  And this cause me emotional trauma.  I enjoyed it immensely.  The only thing keeping me from giving it a full five stars is the author questionnaire in the back.  Brashares mentions a possible relationship between two characters that I never, ever wanted to imagine.  I wish I would have skipped the questionnaire so I could have remained in blissful ignorance, but once I read that I couldn’t un-read it.  However, that relationship is — as of now, at least — purely hypothetical, so it’s something I can look over.  I know I’ll be coming back to read this again.  It is most definitely a new favorite.

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