This first drama, romance book in the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" series by Ann Brashares is published by Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children's Books.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is written for kids ages 12 and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Four close friends, separated during the summer before their 16th birthdays, use letters and a pair of jeans passed from girl to girl to keep their friendship alive. Lena visits her grandparents in Greece. Bridget attends a soccer camp. Carmen attempts to cope with her father's impending remarriage. Tibby develops a friendship with a younger girl who has leukemia.
Before meals, Carmen's father — who is living with his fiancée and her teenage children — joins hands with them and says grace. The father and fiancée are married later in a Christian church. God is present through cultural or ceremonial events (holiday, grace before meals, weddings, baptisms), except in Carmen's life where He does not appear to be present. Carmen apologizes to God when she takes His name in vain. However, she refuses to pray when she's miserable and ashamed because she doesn't want God to think of her as the girl who only prays when she wants something. The Lord's name is taken in vain over 25 times.
The girls' parents are mostly absent, ineffectual or the source of the problem. In this teen world, friends provide the needed support and guidance. Serious consequences or discipline for misbehavior are not enforced. The girls come and go with little parental supervision and sometimes without parental knowledge.
Profanity, a few coarse references to body parts and a crude joke. No violence.
The kissing scenes are intense and involve body contact. Kissing is viewed merely as a pleasant pastime. Talked about, but not detailed — Lena's 14-year-old sister, Effie, spends a lot of her free time kissing a young Greek. Nudity (skinny dipping) is included, and there is also a sex scene between 15-year-old Bridget and the college-aged coach she seduces at her soccer camp. The description of the event is not explicit, and the text fast-forwards to scenes of the girl's sadness and bewilderment. While those scenes could serve to warn teens, earlier scenes, filled with vivid descriptions of Bridget's powerful feelings and provocative actions read like a "how-to seduce a male" manual. While there is regret over losing her virginity, it's only because she's too young, and the girl says her sexual misstep is "fixed" when her friend shows up at the camp to support her.
2002 ALA Best Books for Young Adults, Regional awards in Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Pacific Northwest Readers Choice, Arizona, and Colorado from 2002 to 2004
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