A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this book is the third in a hugely popular series for teens. The four friends certainly deal with some drama, including romances, anxiety about college, and an accident that leaves a young child seriously hurt. But they always continue to stand with each other, even as they learn to stand on their own. There are some references to "getting stoned," detailed descriptions of kissing, and mentions of sleeping with and skinny-dipping with a boy. But in the end it's these girls' friendships -- and each girl's growing sense of who she is -- that will leave an impact on teen readers.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The pants are back -- and with them, adventure and self-discovery for four college-bound friends:Lena's ultra-conservative father threatens to pull the plug on art school; Tibby's relationship with a male friend takes a romantic turn in the midst of a family crisis;Carmen begins a job caring for Lena's depressed and cranky Greek grandmother, meets a boy, and is horrified to discover that her middle-aged, newly remarried mother is pregnant; and Bea, still processing the death of her mother, is reunited with a past fling -- but learns this time to start with friendship before romance.
Is it any good?
This third novel in the series continues the odyssey that has struck a chord with teens, and readers may find some aspects of the story not entirely believable. But the author is such a good writer, and the characters are so lovable, that this book is sure to be a hit for teens who enjoy coming-of-age books, especially if they've read the other installments. As the girls grow during the summer after high school graduation, the "magical" pants that were a symbol of their friendship and support become less prominent. Even so, Brashares makes their love for one another clear as she weaves expertly through each of the four girls' adventures, sometimes even changing point of view within the same chapter.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about reading a series. What's fun about it? Do you notice the quality changing at all as you progress through the books? Many people say that a sequel is never as good as the original -- do you agree?
These books have now been made into popular movies. Are they as good as the books? How do they compare? What would you have left in (or left out) if you were making the movies?
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