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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Popular series start shows positive girl friendships.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

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

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.


An incorrect assumption of rape.


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.


A fair amount.


A few obvious store name alterations.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

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. 

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.

Families can talk 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

Author:Ann Brashares
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Delacorte Press
Publication date:September 11, 2001
Number of pages:294

This review of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was written by

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Parent of a 13 and 17 year old Written byK83432 February 3, 2011

Great book great for all girls 12 and up

I think that this book is great and refreshing considering what books are out there for children these days I highly recommend this book to any 12 year old girl or uP:)
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written bypeacelovepantz22 December 31, 2009

perfect for anyone 11/12 or older

i love all four books it shows how strong friendship is and tough decions that girls face. if your a girl and dont like to read read this book and it will change your mind. parents dont like to admit it but girls face these issues and most likely wont want to talk to their moms but to their best friends and if you trust them to make the right descion they will.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 17 years old Written byKoOkYMoNsTa234 April 9, 2008


The book TSOTTP is very boring to my perspective. Obviously being geared to a female audience the book is about sex, makeup, first love, clothes ohh and a magic pair of pants. If you are confused so was I. I would get it at the library or borrow it from someone like I did since it isn't completely boring.