Thursday, June 23, 2011

sisterhood everlasting by Ann Brashares

Okay, so technically speaking, this book is for adults. Generally I have two rules (that are mostly my own making) for what qualifies something as YA. 1) the age of the main characters and 2) the age of the audience reading the book. And both qualifications are a little bit fuzzy. For instance sometimes I read younger YA books that tell the story of an 11 year-old. And sometimes the older YA books stretch into the college years. And then what do you do about books like Twilight and the Harry Potter books, which are read by everyone? This book is technically about four 29-year-old women –way beyond the college years. However, the girls started much younger. And I have a feeling libraries will placing this book (like the Twilight books) on different shelves in different sections of the library, maybe one in the teen section, and one in the adult?
Anyway, regardless of who Brashares’ audience is meant to be, her books are always YA to me. Her past “adult” books read much more like YA books, because that is what she does the best, and what people like best.
I’m going to New Orleans tomorrow for the annual ALA conference, and I know I will be bringing home a lot of new books/arc’s (advanced reader’s copies). So, I told myself that after finishing The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee that I would only be reading Kindle books because why bring a book to a place where I will be getting a lot more. And Kindles are so much lighter/easier for traveling. However, shortly after making this decision my pre-orders all came in the mail from Amazon, and I think I had sisterhood everlasting in my possession for all of 10 minutes before reading it.
This book is the fifth in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, and it takes place 10 years after the last one left off. It deals with a lot of things all of the books in this series dealt with: true love, friendship, keeping friendship alive across years and continents, family, loss, growing up, and just living. Warning: I am about to spoil something that happens in the very beginning of the book. But I can’t exactly talk about this book without talking about what the whole thing is about. What the side flap/back of book neglect to tell you is that Brashares kills off one of the sisters in the very beginning chapters! And the whole book is how the rest of the girls deal with this loss.
The book is heart-breaking and if you have made it this far in the series, you will most definitely need a Kleenex box for this one. But the book is also beautiful. I have re-read the books in this series so many times that it already felt like Carmen, Bee, Tibby, and Lena were my friends. Brashares is probably one of my favorite writers of character. She writes each girl in a way that you can almost expect what they will do next, not because they’re predictable or cliché, but because you know them and have grown up next to them.
The book involves more trips to Greece, marriage plans, selfdiscovery type train rides, a romantic letter correspondence, a nomadic lifestyle, tv show acting, Australia, motherhood, and  P.S. I Love you post death friendship letters. The girls all learn to deal with this death in their own ways and then finally together again.
The one thing I really did not like about it was that there is one very obvious thing I think all of the girls should have been able to figure out much quicker. I decided I wouldn’t say who dies, and I wouldn’t give too much away, so I can’t really explain this part either. But just know that the girls question if the death was really accidental or self inflicted, and I knew right away what it was and was almost mad enough to stop reading because I couldn’t believe these intelligent women could be that dumb over something so big. But of course, I didn’t stop reading. I read it (literally) in one very sad sitting.
I give this book a 9/10. Don’t turn away because of the sadness. It was still very pleasurable to read, and reading anything of Brashares is like going out for a cup of coffee with an old friend from high school.

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