SERIES

The Second Summer of the Sisterhood

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“Light and romantic," raved The New York Times of the second novel in the  bestselling Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares, author of The Here and Now.

With a bit of last summer’s sand in the pockets, the Traveling Pants and the sisterhood who wears them—Lena, Tibby, Bridget, and Carmen—embark on their second summer together.
 
“Fits like a favorite pair of pants.” —USA Today

“A great summer read.” —The Sacramento Bee

 “As comfortable as an old pair of jeans.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred

Praise

“Light and romantic." —The New York Times
 
“Fits like a favorite pair of pants.” —USA Today

“A great summer read.” —The Sacramento Bee

“As comfortable as an old pair of jeans.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred

Excerpt

PROLOGUE
0nce there were four girls who shared a pair of pants. The girls were all different sizes and shapes, and yet the pants fit each of them.

You may think this is a suburban myth. But I know it's true, because I am one of them-one of the sisters of the Traveling Pants.

We discovered their magic last summer, purely by accident. The four of us were splitting up for the first time in our lives. Carmen had gotten them from a second-hand place without even bothering to try them on. She was going to throw them away, but by chance, Tibby spotted them. First Tibby tried them; then me, Lena; then Bridget; then Carmen.

By the time Carmen pulled them on, we knew something extraordinary was happening. If the same pants fit-and I mean really fit-the four of us, they, aren't ordinary. They don't belong completely to the' world of things you can see and touch. My sister, Effie, claims I don't believe in magic, and maybe I didn't then. But after the first summer of the Traveling Pants, I do.

The Traveling Pants are not only the most beautiful pair of jeans that ever existed, they are kind, comforting, and wise. And also they make you look really good.

We, the members of the Sisterhood, were friends before the Traveling Pants. We've known each other since before we were born. Our mothers were all in the same pregnancy aerobics class, all due in early September. I feel this explains something about us. We all have in common that we got bounced on our fetal heads too much.

We were all born within seventeen days of each other, first me, a little early, in the end of August, and last Carmen, a little late, in the middle of September. You know how people make a big deal about which twin was born three minutes before the other one? Like it matters? Well, we're like that. We draw great significance from the fact that I'm the oldest-the most mature, the most maternal -and Carmen is the baby.

Our mothers started out being close. We had a group play date running at least three days a week until we started kindergarten. They called themselves the Septembers and eventually passed that name down to us. Our mothers would gab in whoever's yard it was, drinking iced tea and eating cherry tomatoes. We would play and play and play and occasionally fight. Honestly, I remember my friends' mothers almost as well as my own from that time.

We four, the daughters, reminisce about it sometimes- we look back on that period as a golden age., Gradually, as we grew, our mothers' friendship disintegrated. Then Bee's mother died. A giant hole was left, and none of them knew how to bridge it. Or maybe they just didn't have the courage.

The word friends doesn't seem to stretch big enough to describe how we feel about each other. We forget where one of us starts and the other one stops. When Tibby sits next to me in the movies, she bangs her heel against my shin during the funny or scary parts. Usually I don't even notice until the bruise blooms the next day. In history class Carmen absently grabs the loose, pinchy skin at my elbow. Bee rests her chin on my shoulder when I'm trying to show her something on the computer, clacking her tee& together when I turn to explain something. We step on, each other's feet a lot. (And, okay, I do have large feet.)

Before the Traveling, Pants we didn't know how to e~, together when we were apart. We didn't realize that we, are bigger and stronger and longer than the time we spend together. We learned that the first summer.

And all year long-, we waited and wondered what the second summer would bring. We learned to drive. We tried to care about our schoolwork and our PSATs. Effie fell in love (several times), and I tried to fall out of it. Brian became a regular fixture at Tibby's house, and she, wanted to talk about Bailey less and less. Carmen and Paul evolved from stepsiblings to friends. We all kept ue nervous, loving eyes on Bee.

While we did our thing, the Pants lived quietly in the top of Carmen's closet. They were summer Pants -that's what we had all agreed on. We had always marked our lives by summers. Besides, with the no-washing rule, we didn't want to overuse them. But not a day of fall, winter, or spring went by when I didn't think about them, curled up in Carmen's closet, safely gathering their magic for when we needed them again.

This summer began differently than the last. Except for Tibby, who'd be going to her film program at a college in Virginia, we thought we'd be staying home. We were all excited to see how the Pants worked when they weren't traveling.

But Bee never met a plan she didn't like to change. So from the start, our summer did not go the way we expected.

From the Hardcover edition.

Reader's Guide

1. The novel opens with a first-person narrative by Lena. Why do you think the author selected this character to frame the story? If you could change it, would you select another character, and if so, what would he or she say?

2. Self-destructive and hurting, Bridget impulsively decides to journey to Alabama and conceal her identity from her estranged grandmother. “She didn’t look like Bee Vreeland. Who said she had to be her?” (p. 21). Have you ever wished you could be someone else? How does posing as Gilda help Bridget learn to be comfortable in her own skin?

3. Each of the girls is embarrassed by her mother (or mother figure)–Carmen by Christina’s new romance, Lena by Ari’s Greekness, Tibby by Alice’s Mozart-playing cell phone and diaper-wipe-trailing shoes, and Bridget by Greta’s life, “so small, and so simple, and so completely unremarkable” (p. 280). In turn, each girl does something to embarrass her mother, with behavior that is often cruel. How could the girls have handled their situations differently? By humiliating their mothers, what do the girls of the Sisterhood learn about themselves?

4. Tibby gets caught up in trying to appear cool and sophisticated in front of Alex and Maura. “She wondered. Had she not brought Brian because she was worried about how he would seem to Alex and Maura? Or was it because she worried about how she, Tibby, would seem to Brian?” (p. 105). Do people judge you by the company you keep? Sometimes people rebuff the ones they love . . . why do you think Tibby pushes Brian away? If you were Brian, would you give up on Tibby? Why or why not?

5. In The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Tibby’s friend Bailey is the only one outside the Sisterhood who wears the Pants. In The Second Summer of the Sisterhood, Christina has that role. Carmen notes (p. 156), “The sick thing was, Christina looked beautiful in the Pants, slender and young. They fit Christina. They loved her and believed in her just as they’d loved Carmen last summer, when Carmen had been worthy of them. This summer they eluded Carmen. Instead, they chose her mother.” And on Bridget’s fifth day in Alabama, the Traveling Pants arrive–and they don’t fit her anymore. What is the emotional impact of these incidents on Carmen and Bridget? Is there a larger issue at play?

6. Epigraphs (short quotations) from a variety of sources–song lyrics, remarks by real-life personalities, fictitious sayings by the novel’s characters–are used to separate sections of the book. Which one is your favorite, and why?

7. Lena loves being in Carmen’s kitchen. “It felt safe and contained” (p. 81), and the food is comforting as well. Do you have a favorite place that makes you feel protected and secure? How do people make a place special?

8. Does Bridget find what she’s looking for in Alabama? How does spending time with Greta teach her about Marly? How is Bridget changed by this experience?

9. Ari tells Lena intimate details of her love affair. Do you think Lena is prepared for such information? Is it better for parents to shield their children from some of their own experiences–or do you think sharing them can help prevent heartache? On page 345, the narrator writes, “Lena was starting to need to go back to being the daughter again.” Have you ever been the recipient of knowledge that you didn’t feel equipped to handle?

10. Which of the girls would you most like to be? Which girl would make the best friend for you? Which mother–Christina, Ari, Alice, or Greta–would you most like to have?

11. Is Kostos a man of honor or a coward? How do you view his behavior? Lena broke up with Kostos–is she justified in thinking, “But that didn’t mean you were allowed to stop loving me” (p. 193)?

12. Carmen and Lena remain at home for most of the novel. Do you think the girls’ friendship would be stronger if all four girls were together? Or do you believe Lena, who tells us in the prologue (p. 4), “We didn’t realize that we are bigger and stronger and longer than the time we spend together”?

13. At the end of the novel, the remaining original Septembers–Alice, Ari, and Christina–are reunited. What does this teach the girls of the Sisterhood? Think about the women in your own life–mothers, grandmothers, aunts. Can you imagine their having a life before you?

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