Random House, 2011
Oh. Man. I was so excited when I found out that there was a new Sisterhood novel coming out. As I discussed Wednesday, I grew up with Carmen, Lena, Bee and Tibby - but then their story just...ended. So I was obviously very excited to pick it back up again, ten years down the road, and see where their journeys took them. I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting, truthfully. Even during the rereading of the original four, I couldn't figure out just where Brashares would take me in the next, final, installment. While I didn't really have a set expectation, what I read still was wholly unexpected - if that makes sense. And yet, at the same time, it worked. It fit. Even as I sat there asking myself "Huh?" while reading, some part of my brain was nodding in agreement, knowing this really was how the story needed to play out.
I'm going to be very, very careful about spoilers for this - because it's a book you need to experience for yourself. I will say, however, don't give up. Don't lose faith. Keep reading, and you're going to see just how awesome this story really is. I promise! The journey and the ending make up for every "wth?"-moment you may have while reading. I had a note of this forewarning myself, so find it only fair to pass it along to you. There are going to be moments when you catch your breath and stare at the page. But there are also going to be moments you laugh softly to yourself, and smile quietly. The Septembers are still the Septembers - just older, maybe a different quirk is more pronounced now than it was ten years ago, but Lena is still Lena, Bee is still Bee, Carmen is still Carmen, and Tibby is still Tibby. The peripheral characters are as wonderful and 'substantial' in terms of rounding out the story as ever. For all the surprises, they're also not really so surprising, because everything rings true to form. The only truly odd part to me was finding myself suddenly a few years younger than the girls - when I'd always been their age or just a little older. And yet, I can relate just as easily to their older selves as I did the younger.
And now the story is ended. Unlike reaching the end of Forever Blue, I do feel like there's more closure - that the story really is over now. Is it hard to put down the book and know my jean-lovin' Septembers are most likely never going to reappear again? A little, yeah. I've spent ten years of my life with these girls, with this story. Literally: I turned 26 this summer, and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants came out the summer I turned 16. My life and the Septembers' story is so...mirror-echo-y. But at the same time, it's okay. Because I've seen how it all turns out - and from here on out? It's gonna be good; they've learned the most important lessons 'for keeps' this time, and so have I. Our journey ends, but friendship is forever.
Book provided by publisher for review.