Friday, August 10, 2012
Author: Ann Brashares
Genre: YA, middle grade, contemporary
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2009
Source: Borrowed from my sister-in-law
Read for: Fun
Polly, Jo, and Ama were the best of friends, supporting each other through every hiccup and struggle. They once planted three willow trees and cared for them diligently every day. However, lately things have changed -- they have different interests, different friends. However, as their lives change, they realize that maybe the people most able to support them are still each other.
3 Willows is supposed to be a continuation of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Books. While the three main characters are unique and new, they all have ties to the members of the original Sisterhood -- Polly babysits Tibby's younger siblings, Jo works with Effie Kaligaris at a restaurant, and, apparently, everyone knows about the Sisterhood and wants to be just like them. I really enjoyed getting sneak peeks of the original characters, but I found the idea that all the girls in their high school looked up to and sought to emulate the older girls a little far-fetched. First of all, why would they know about the pants? And second of all... why would they know about the pants? I also found the willow metaphor to be a bit odd. While Brashares did a good job at incorporating the willow with the story, it also seemed too far-fetched.
However, aside from the premise of the book being unbelievable for me, I actually enjoyed the story quite a bit. Something about Ann Brashares' writing always pulls me in. Her style is personable and conversational, describing emotions and experiences that I can relate to in phrasing that is creative and vivid. She squeezes little gems of life wisdom into the everyday experiences of her characters, and the way the characters experience and discover those gems is realistic and raw. I remember feeling a strong connection with the characters in the original books when I was in high school, and it was good to see that I can still relate to Ann Brashares' characters several years later.
In short, I enjoyed the characters created by Brashares and the story; however, I think she tried a little too hard to relate them to the characters she created in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Once I was able to suspend my disbelief a little bit, I really loved 3 Willows, but it did take me a few moments to get over the all-too-convenient coincidences.
Warnings: Some drug/alcohol use, making out, moderate language