The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Book Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Popular series start shows positive girl friendships.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 23 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 77 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Quotes from folks like Winston Churchill open the chapters and give readers something to think about. And the book certainly lends itself to a fun discussion. See our "Families Can Talk About" section for some ideas, or use the publisher's discussion guide to delve more deeply into the book's content.

Positive Messages

This book is about four girls who have to grow up in different ways -- which they do with inner strength and a whole lot of support from their friends.  

Positive Role Models & Representations

The girls certainly make mistakes, but they learn from them and become stronger people. Also, the deep friendships demonstrated here will give teen readers something to aspire to.

Violence

An incorrect assumption of rape.

Sex

In addition to lots of kissing, there's also skinnydipping, and Bridget throws herself at an older boy, with whom it's implied that she has sex.

Language

A fair amount.

Consumerism

A few obvious store name alterations.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Underage girls sneak out of camp to a bar, where counselors are drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book's emphasis on strong, supportive girl friendships may inspire readers -- and provides some nice counter-programming to clique lit's "frenemies." The characters do make some bad decisions, but they grow from them. There's some sexual content, language, and some pretty intense emotional stuff. Teens living out their own coming-of-age stories will likely get the most out of this book. 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 17-year-old Written bythreelambs June 7, 2017

*Spoiler included RE sexual content

I did really enjoy this book and found the characters to be well developed and charming...true to how I remember myself and my friends feeling and acting in hig... Continue reading
Adult Written bygravinar April 22, 2009

Amazing Story that all Teens should Read

I have read a couple of the reviews on here and I believe that people who find this book inappropriate for teens under 14 are ridiculous. Do people not understa... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySummerincast August 18, 2019

Good message

This book showed the values of friendship. I think kids who are 12 and older should read it. Even though the girls are 15 and there is a little romance I think... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byem.m_carter May 25, 2018

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER- I actually liked the movie more, but the book wasn't bad.

What the title says, honestly. This could partially have to do with the fact that I watched the movie first, but I, for whatever reason, liked the movie more. I... Continue reading

What's the story?

Lena, Bridget, Tibby, and Carmen have been best friends since birth. Now, just before they're about to spend their first summer apart, they discover a pair of jeans that miraculously fits all of them, despite their differing physiques. And not just fit -- the Pants make each girl look and feel beautiful and confident. They don't know it yet, but they'll need that confidence during a summer that will test them, each in different ways.In a solemn midnight ceremony that will resonate with teen readers, the girls make up a compact about the Pants, part of which is that they'll send them back and forth among themselves throughout the summer.

Is it any good?

Ann Brashares is a great storyteller, building a reservoir of affection her characters that makes the climax of each of their stories effective. This book's main characters certainly experience their share of drama: Tibby befriends a 12-year-old with leukemia, Carmen's father has a new family, Lena falls in love in Greece, and Bridget has her first sexual experience, which devastates her. 

The friendship that the four girls share is the kind every teen longs for: rock solid and dependable, with no rivalries or pettiness to mar it, filled only with kindness, love, and understanding. If this friendship -- along with the girls' openness to the world and their capacity for honest self-appraisal and growth -- gives teen readers something to which to aspire, then this book will deserve its popularity.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about friendship. How is it often portrayed in the media? What sort of impact do those portrayals have on real life girl friendships? Why do you think this book -- and its subsequent sequels -- struck such a chord with readers?

  • This book has many sequels. Why are series so popular right now -- from Harry Potter to The Hunger Games? Why do you think publishers are interested in printing them?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love coming-of-age stories

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