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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Carmen, Tibby, Lena, and Bridget have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Their mothers first
met 16 years earlier in an aerobics class for pregnant women, and since that time the girls have never known a
summer apart. This summer will be different, however, as three of the friends leave their homes in the
Washington,D.C., area and head for different parts of the globe. Although they are separated, they will continue
to share two important things, their lifelong friendship and a pair of pants.
The pants are only thrift-store blue jeans that Carmen picked up for US$3.49, and although they aren't truly
magical, they do have some surprising properties. They fit each of the four girls perfectly despite their
completely different body sizes and types, accentuating each girl's positive physical characteristics and
minimizing negative ones. Whoever has the pants in her possession experiences powerful moments of romance,
athletic triumph, or resolution of whatever issue is foremost in her life at the time.
The girls call this the "power of the pants," and although they don't believe it to be magic, they do believe that
the pants serve as a reminder of the strong friendship and advocacy they share. As the title suggests, the pants
really do travel from girl to girl over the course of the summer, and while each girl has the pants she is reminded
that her three best friends are with her in spirit if not in person.
The novel is really four different stories, each one told in several parts as the novel goes back and forth among
the girls just like the pants. Carmen travels to South Carolina to spend the summer with her father, just the two
of them, but discovers on her arrival that her father has a new family. Bridget travels to a big-time soccer camp
in Mexico where the reckless abandon with which she plays soccer also shows up in her first exploration into
romance. Lena spends her summer with her grandparents, lifelong residents of a beautiful village on the coast of
Greece, where she thwarts her grandmother's plan to connect her with the village's most eligible bachelor. Tibby,
the only member of the sisterhood to remain at home, starts a new job at Wallman's Drugstore and with a strange
new friend attempts to make a documentary about quirky but interesting people. In the Epilogue all the girls
meet for their annual birthday party at the site of the now long-disbanded aerobics class their mothers attended.
Although each girl's story has its own ending, the author uses this final scene to add a note of resolution.