Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Review: 3 Willows

3 Willows by Ann Brashares

Total: Three and a half-ish.

{Summary From Author's Website}

The new book from Ann Brashares, the bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants:


Polly has an idea that she can't stop thinking about, one that involves changing a few things about herself. She's setting her sights on a more glamorous life, but it's going to take all of her focus. At least that way she won't have to watch her friends moving so far ahead.


Jo is spending the summer at her family's beach house, working as a bus girl and bonding with the older, cooler girls she'll see at high school come September. She didn't count on a brief fling with a cute boy changing her entire summer. Or feeling embarrassed by her middle school friends. And she didn't count on her family at all. . .


Ama is not an outdoorsy girl. She wanted to be at an academic camp, doing research in an air-conditioned library, earning A's. Instead her summer scholarship lands her on a wilderness trip full of flirting teenagers, blisters, impossible hiking trails, and a sad lack of hair products.

It is a new summer. And a new sisterhood. Come grow with them.

Behind The Grade:

As a girl who devoured the Sisterhood series as quickly as they came out, I expected to fall head-over-heels in love with the new girls. Sure, my beloved Bridget, Lena, Carmen and Tibby wouldn't be returning, for this spin-off-y thing, but I thought Brashares' way with words would carry this novel and make me fall in love again.

I was wrong.

Wow, that sounded harsh! It's not that I hated it, because I absolutely did not. Polly, Jo, and Ama, the new Sisterhood, are fleshed-out characters and seem like someone you might see walking down the street. That being said, they don't act like fourteen-year-olds.

The writing is way too poetic and over-thinking for a bunch of eighth-graders. It was really distracting from their typical middle school problems. The best analogy I can draw is this: 3 Willows is seriously bi-polar. At times, it tries to be nothing more than a sweet summer story for young girls and does so beautifully. However, it occasionally seems like Miss Brashares is trying to make this book into an American classic, which it is not.

Also, as the element of magic and the Pants are taken out of the Sisterhood, there isn't much to make this book stand out from others on a shelf. To me, none of the girls stand out the way Bridget, Tibby, Lena and Carmen did.

Maybe I'm just nostalgic for the original sisterhood days!