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 is a new installment of the popular Traveling Pants series, but this volume takes place nearly 10 years later and is written for an adult audience. The four friends at the heart of this series are now nearly 30, and dealing with mature issues: When a key character dies, the three remaining friends assume it is a suicide, and when one discovers she is pregnant, she initially wants to have an abortion. There is some swearing and drinking, and also lots of tears and heartbreak. But in the end, there is a strong message about the power of friendship -- and the importance of telling people how you feel, even when it means taking a risk with your heart.
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- Kids say
What's the story?
When a key character dies, the three remaining friends in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants find a letter suggesting it was suicide. This sudden tragedy makes the friends fall apart inside themselves, and from each other: One leaves her boyfriend and becomes homeless, another makes plans to marry her jerky boyfriend, and another's love seems doomed, since she can't tell her partner how she feels. But the deceased friend has left additional notes for the friends she has known since birth, and these letters help them fix what's broken in their lives, figure out what exactly happened in hers -- and ultimately lead them back to each other.
Is it any good?
This follow-up may be targeted to an older audience, but readers will still be inspired by its powerful messages about the importance of love and friendship. There is a lot of grieving here, which can be somewhat overwhelming, but the author knows these characters well, and the readers who have long loved them will be willing to follow them anywhere, including down their own personal paths of destruction. The ending may wrap a little neatly -- OK, a lot neatly -- but it is a satisfying conclusion after all these girls have lived and learned, in this volume and throughout the series.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the audience for this book. Is the book targeting teen or adult readers? Can you think of other books that are trying to reach both girls and women? What would publishers be interested in selling crossover books?
What made you want to read this installment of the series? And why do you think the author wanted to return to these characters? What do publishers have to gain by printing an additional volume of this popular series?
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