The Second Summer of the Sisterhood

[openbook booknumber=”0385729340″][rating:4.5/5]

I loved reading The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I picked it up expecting chick lit but got so much more. I tore through the entire book during a fishing trip, finishing it all in one sitting. I have no idea why I put off reading about The Second Summer of the Sisterhood. I guess it goes back to that old weakness of insisting on reading the first book in the series immediately before I read the sequel so that it’s fresh in my mind. For whatever reason I’m glad I got back to this series, because I loved it!

The four girls decided to put off wearing the pants all school year long in favor of bringing them out only in the summer time. At the start of their second summer Tibby left to go and do a film program at a college in Virginia, and Bee took off to find her roots, and herself, in Alabama. Lena and Carmen are staying home, but things are never simple when it comes to this sisterhood! Lena faces the ashes of her relationship with Kostos while Carmen deals with her mother’s new flame David. Altogether though I thought this book was much darker then it’s first book, and not nearly so uplifting. All of the girls seemed to be in a great deal of more trouble then last summer and to be facing tougher problems, also it seemed to me that some of the girls hadn’t learned much from the last summer and had lessons that needed repeating.

Carmen sat up when she heard a familiar trill from her computer. It was an instant message from Bee.
       Beezy3: Packing. Do you have my purple sock with the heart on the ankle?
       Carmabelle: No. Like I’d wear your socks.
       Carmen looked from her computer screen down to her feet. To her dismay, her socks were two faintly different shades of purple. She rotated her foot to get a view of her anklebone.
       Carmabelle: Ahem. Might possibly have sock.

Tibby had more she needed to learn from Bailey and you also got to see more development with her family dynamic and her relationships outside of the home. She is really coming into her own as a character where she didn’t seem to do much, Bailey not withstanding, the summer before. I still feel like there is more that should be said and done with that family though. We did get to see some work on Tibby’s relationship with her mother though, so that was something.

Carmen needed to go back to square one and re-learn her lessons from the summer past, but then again she is a very stubborn girl. Her relationship with her mother as well was brought into more focus as she dealt with her mother’s new flame, and his disrupting presence in their lives. I did find the complete lack of Spanish (save for one word, and then at the end, a second word) being spoken between Carmen and her mother. I understand that from an author’s point of view you can’t completely segue into another language, but I think a few more Spanish words could have been thrown in with the reader none the worse off for wear.

Lena really flowered at the end of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants but over the winter between books retreated back into her shell and chose to cut things off with Kostos as she was now afraid all over again. She is the one that really has some new lessons to learn about love, and love lost, especially when she uncovers a past love lost of her mother’s that not only results in her mother clamming up, but also results in a fight between all the girl’s mothers that the Sisterhood has to deal with.

Bee was originally going to stay at home for the summer, but uncovering a letter from her grandmother inviting her and her twin brother Perry down to Alabama at any time changed all of that. We learn a lot more about Bee’s family, her mother, and about Bee herself in this book. And, if you ignore the fly by night trip down to Alabama, she actually approached learning about her past and her self in a very cautious manner, by choosing to be someone else while she is there. But, until she finds, learns about, and is herself again, the Pants refuse to fit her.

I thought this book was a lot darker than the previous Sisterhood, there was lots of loss to face, and change to acknowledge and deal with. I especially liked the dynamics between the Sisterhood and their mothers, and the flashes of the mother’s own Sisterhood. All of the girls grew and changed throughout this novel, even if the lessons learned were just reiterations of old ones, but I think all of the girls managed to find themselves in more trouble this summer than last and had to experience more hurt as well.

A sadder take on the Sisterhood, The Second Summer of the Sisterhood was still a powerful book, and a good addition to the series. I look forward to reading about their third summer.

2 Responses to The Second Summer of the Sisterhood

  1. Helen Murdoch
    10:51 am on January 1st, 2010

    This whole book series is fun, but I didn’t enjoy the second movie as much as the first one.

  2. Sherry
    8:27 am on January 9th, 2010

    As I find reviews that I want to go back to in my internet wanderings, I’m adding them to my list at Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. If you’re not familiar with it, check it out—especially if you need titles to add to your reading list. And feel free to add links each Saturday to your book reviews for the week.

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