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 sequel continues to focus on the relationships of four close friends. The girls demonstrate a great love for each other, and teens can learn a lot from how they support each other. There's some mature material -- one teen faces her mother's suicide of years ago, while another single mother has an affair. Plus, the girls make out with boys (more than in the first book) and make some poor decisions from time to time. But it's the strong friendships as well as the girls' individual coming-of-age stories that make this series sing.
What's the story?
The girls embark on another dramatic summer in THE SECOND SUMMER OF THE SISTERHOOD. Tibby goes off to a film school's summer program, where she'll confront her relationships with her mother, her sort-of-boyfriend Brian, and her late friend Bailey. Bridget goes to Alabama under an alias to reestablish contact with her maternal grandmother and delve into her own and her late mother's past. Lena discovers things in her mother's past that she'd rather not know; she also returns to Greece for her grandfather's death and to find out why Kostos has broken off their relationship. And Carmen, having ripped apart and resewn her relationship with her father in the previous book, now does the same with her mother, who has fallen in love.
Is it any good?
Author Ann Brashares is a strong writer, and the scenes and events flash easily by, imbued with good and important lessons that aren't too didactic. Fans of the first book -- and there are lots of them -- will certainly want to follow the girls' melodrama into its second summer and will be enthralled as their favorite characters plow through their trials and tribulations.
There's more of everything here: more pages (it's almost 100 pages longer than the first book), more peripheral characters (so many that it's sometimes hard to keep track), more tears, more dark and selfish behavior, and more graphic make-out scenes. Even the Pants travel around more, though they're less central to the plot. Even though the characters are less sympathetic and less dependent on each other in this book than they were in the first novel, . The Second Summer will resonate with fans of the first book, as much of what happens to the girls this summer builds on events from before.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about friendship. How are girl friendships in particular typically portrayed in the media? Does this book offer a counterpoint to many of those representations? How?
How do publishers decide which books will be stand alone and which ones deserve sequels?
This book was much longer than the first -- is it as good? Do you expect each installment to be equally well done?
For kids who love coming-of-age stories
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