When I was younger (am I old enough to say that?), I had a yearly tradition. Every single summer, I would re-read the entire Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. I liked the books because they were a touchstone for me. I could gauge how I had changed and where I was in my life based on which of the four girls I related to most that time around. At first, I thought I would never relate to anyone but Lena–quiet, shy Lena, who was soft and thoughtful. But then, one summer, I realized that I had hit my rebellious phase and suddenly felt like I had a lot more in common with Tibby. The summer after that, I admitted to my temper and related more to Carmen. The only sister of the traveling pants I never understood on a personal level was impulsive, bubbly Bridget. But that was okay–I was happy watching from afar.
Once the fourth book came out and the pants were lost, the books seemed to lose a bit of their magic for me, too. I fell away from my tradition and the books collected dust on my shelves.
This summer, I came across the fifth Sisterhood book, Sisterhood Everlasting. If you haven’t heard, this book tells the story of the girls adult lives. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I’m fairly sure that I can’t really talk about the book without mentioning it… So if you haven’t read the fifth sisterhood book and you intend to, be warned. SPOILER ALERT.
I almost didn’t finish the book. Within the first few chapters, you learn the horrible truth that Tibby drowns. One of the four girls is DEAD with no chance for a “just kidding” because Carmen, Bridget, and Lena identify the body. The rest of the book is orchestrated from a beyond the grave Tibby, who left her friends notes with instructions that will lead them to put their broken adult lives back together.
Although it has pretty good ratings on Goodreads, I couldn’t really stand by this book. I don’t know if it was because it undid so much of what I loved about the girls when they were younger. I don’t know if it was because the plot seemed to solve such massive life problems with something so simple as a dead woman’s letters. Next time I get a craving for the Traveling Pants, I think I’ll stick to traditions and start with the first book. As far as I’m concerned, Sisterhood Everlasting never happened. Even if I am thrilled beyond words that Lena ended up with Kostos in the end.