Sunday, 26 February 2012

1 Year, 100 Books Challenge: The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants

This book is part of my 1 Year, 100 Books Challenge, for more info on that click here 

Book Number: 9
Title: The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants
Author: Ann Brashares
Date of Completion: 15/1/2012
Rating: 5 Stars

The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants was one of the best realistic fiction stories I have read in a while and it is definitely a worthwhile read for all teenage girls. The Septembers were likeable and most would be able to relate to the things that happen to the girls in this book and understand how they were feeling (or at least empathize with them). I cared about and liked all the characters, the plots were good too and the writing lets you get into their heads without being in 1st person. For all the people who actually follow me, sorry for taking forever to write a review, College started. I have also read The Second Summer of the Sisterhood and 3 Willows: A New Sisterhood Grows, both not as good but still fine. I am going to review this different to how I usually review stuff because the 4 main characters have their own plots.

Why I Read It: Well I have heard plenty of (mainly good) stuff about this book but I wasn't sure if I should read it or not, so when the movie was playing on TV, I decided  I might as well watch it (I know it's a bad habit, but don't kill me guys) and I enjoyed it so I decided to read the book.

Practically best friends from birth (no exaggeration) the Septembers are facing their first summer apart when they chance upon a pair of jeans that magically fit all four of them (despite the differences in size and shape) and bring out the best in them. The girls decide to mail the Pants between them during their summer to keep them together.

Lena is staying with her extended family in Greece. Bridget's an all-star soccer player attending soccer-camp in Mexico, when she gets a mad crush on a handsome and totally-off-limits soccer coach, Eric. Carmen is off to visit Dad after a long-time of living apart. Her daddy-daughter reunion is shattered by the surprise, her Dad's new family. They all seem to be perfect, her Dad is totally changed and is too engrossed with his upcoming wedding to spend time with Carmen. Tibby is stuck at home, while all her friends are off travelling, boring summer when she runs into Bailey, a 12 yr old leukemia victim. 

The Characters and their Plots:
Lena - I understood and liked Lena but her plot felt lacking and less relate-able in comparison to the others. I liked how she was totally and utterly beautiful but she always saw that as a bad thing and thought that when people were nice to her she thought it was because she was beautiful. She saw her own beauty as a curse, and saw the worst in people because of it. I think a lot of people can't see or appreciate just how beautiful they really are, and Lena's story is good in that way. Edit: I found out that her story was based on a myth about Artemis, yeah I like it a lot better now, see other reviews for my love of Greek mythology

Bridget - Is a go-getter, she's just that kind of person that is super-confident and outgoing in an admirable way. A lot of girls will go though an all-consuming crush, and lots of people have off-limits crushes as well (teachers etc.) both of which are totally unhealthy. So yeah, its pretty relate-able stuff here. **SPOILERS AHEAD** also the losing of virginity is also a pretty big issue for a lot of teens **END SPOILERS**

Carmen - This is probably the best story (in terms of relatability and well, good-ness) out of the 4 in The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants. There are a lot of people whose parents live apart, there are a lot of people who rarely see one of their parents, there are a lot of people who feel left out of perfect groups and this makes it easy for people to empathise with Carmen and understand her actions and emotions and I think that's really great. 

Tibby - She learns that time and life is precious, her sucky town ain't that bad after all and that an adventure doesn't need an exotic locale, but can happen anywhere, even in your neighborhood. I loved Tibby's story, it was just really profound, and well I like that stuff. I understood Tibby's views on her town, it's inhabitants and her job, and I liked it how the semi-rebel realised that there was more out there, and she doesn't actually have it worse off. 

Others in Lena's story - Kostos was a sweetheart in this (not so much in The Second Summer of The Sisterhood) and I liked him, but we didn't get to explore his character too much. Lena's family in Greece were all too cute, they were caring and kind, but funny too.

Others in Bridget's story - I didn't get too know Eric enough to form a proper opinion of him, but at least wasn't her teacher, and he tried to resist Bridget and they were close in age not like most those horrible stories of teacher-student relationships, Ugh. The others in her story were also fine.

Others in Carmen's story - The pthers in Carmen's story fit so well into their roles. Lydia and Krista were hateable in a they-aren't-actually-doing-anything-wrong way. And well her father Albert, also doesn't realise the wrongs that he is doing to his daughter, but still looks out for her. That colossal mistake of not not telling Carmen that he was engaged into the perfect family was just so, soo stupid.

Others in Tibby's story - I adore Bailey, or maybe I just have a soft spot for wise-beyond-years, 12 yr old girls with fatal diseases. But yeah Bailey is fantastic, she's curious, enthusiastic and sees the best in people, she's totally sweet when helping with the suckumentary. This girl, although very near to death, is not frightened by it and ain't silly about it Eg. not 'dying a virgin!that is so pathetic, boohoo' but 'I am afraid of time'. Aside from the Bailey-fest, I think Brian McBrian's name is hilarious.

The Writing:
The writing is pretty good and the letters in between were great insights into what the characters sound like. Judging by the kind of book it was, I expected it to be written in 1st person, but it isn't (except for the prologue, letters and epilogue) and it worked perfectly fine that way. The transitions in between different points of view could be made more distinct. I liked the quotes in between chapters, but I found it weird that there were quotes from the characters themselves in there too. The pants were a bit of a weird metaphor, but I understand what they represent, so yeah.

Recommendation: All teenage female readers should give this book a go, even non-reading female teens should give it a go.

Quote: “Maybe, sometimes, it's easier to be mad at the people you trust because you know they'll always love you, no matter what.” 

Thursday, 2 February 2012

1 Year, 100 Books Challenge: 3 Willows

This review is for my 1 Year, 100 Books Challenge, to view more info on it go here.

Book Number: 9
Title: 3 Willows: A New Sisterhood Grows
Author: Ann Brashares
Date of Completition: 13/1/2012
Rating: 4 stars

Being the total rebel that I am, decided to read 3 Willows before I have read The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants (don't worry I am going to read that too). I don't think it lessened my enjoyment of the novel in any way, I just didn't realise who Effie was until Lena came, but really that's nothing to the story. Sorry for taking so long to write another review I was on holiday for the last 12 days and had almost no contact with computers. The characters were nice, and sometimes relate-able and I grew to care for them. The 3 willows were a really good symbol for their friendship cos' although they are separate, they're always by each others sides and they grow together, with their branches and roots growing into each other but also spreading apart. I'm going to do this a bit differently to how I usually review because each person has their own seperate plot so I'll put my views on their plots with them. 

Why I Read It: I was decided to read The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants and I discovered that the author had also written this, since the characters were younger than the Sisterhood girls (even though I am the same age as the Sisterhood girls) I decided to read this first as the Sisterhood girls get older with each book  so chances are I will continue to like them, where as I will grow further away from the 3 Willlows girls as I get older.

Ama, Jo and Polly used to be the best of friends but as they've grown they have moved apart. Ama is less than thrilled when she gets forced into a wilderness trip instead of the academic course she wanted. She struggles with  bugs, dirt, physical, her slutty roommate, her untameable hair and being left out of the group. Jo has grown out of her old best friends, Ama and Polly, and has started working as a busgirl alongside her popular friend Bryn, she's still hasn't finished adapting to her new social status and realises its a whole different world at the top. After hearing that her grandmother was a model, Polly decides that she's going to become one too, but the modelling agencies have a very different idea of beauty. The girls learn who they can rely on, and try out new things, but is one summer enough to get them back to how they were before?

The Characters and their Plots: 
Ama - I found was the most relate-able character and the most relate-able story (although I think a lot of people would find Jo's story the most relateable). Like me Ama is more into the academic stuff rather than physical stuff, has frustrating hair, and doesn't like sweating, bugs etc  although I don't hate the great outdoors as she does. 

Jo - Well I've read plenty of stories about a girl who's trying to get into the popular group and realises that it's not as good as they made it out to be and that their old friends were better, so I was kind of meh, to this story, but it wasn't bad. It is not smart to make out with people who you don't know the names of, so don't do it, as Jo learnt. 

Polly - This plot just didn't seem as appealing, real, interesting and as good as the others. It seems as if Ann Brashare's kind of ran out of good plots for her girls after writing 4 bestselling Sisterhood books with four plots in each and then writing plots for Ama and Jo. Still, Polly faces an uphill battle and I liked how she found out that all this time that her mum was at her art studio she was drinking rather than making art, and how after her dream ends her mum and her friends support her after all the modelling people told her she wasn't good enough. 

Others - The supporting cast was decent, I liked how Polly's mum and Jo's dad supported their daughters even though they weren't that present in their daughters lives. 

The Writing: 
The writing was pretty good. I expected it to be in 1st person because these types of novels usually are, but it was fine in third person and you still got to get inside the characters heads. 

Other: Comparison to The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants 
Now that I've read both I can compare them, I didn't want to spend my whole review comparing this to the Sisterhood but you guys might want that, so I'll stick it in here. I already said before that the 3 willows were a great symbol for their friendship above, and they worked better than the Travelling Pants. Many people think the magical pants are stupid and unnecessary but I understand their symbolism and I like how it keeps the girls together even when they are apart. I liked The Septembers more than Ama, Jo and Polly, I just connected to them more and faster and their plots were better than the plots in 3 Willows.

For fans of The Sisterhood of travelling pants, and teenage female readers who are looking for a decent realistic fiction novel.

“There are moments in your life when the big pieces slide and shift. Sometimes the big changes don't happen gradually but all at once. That's how it was for us. That was the day we discovered that friends can do things for you that your parents can't.”