The girls are back with new adventures, joys, and heartaches to share. These is something so special about the bond these four have - I have to admit that it makes me a little jealous. This is the type of friendship I always wanted as a child, but sadly only found in books. I tended to grow apart from friends as I transitioned through the phases of adolescence and adulthood. I am in awe of people (even fictional ones) that can keep their friendships strong in spite of so much change.
The summer vacation in this one has Tibby and Bridget heading out of town while Lena and Carmen stay behind. It only seems fair to talk about each girl a little bit in the review. I don't think they would be happy if I did it any other way.
Tibby heads to film camp at a college a few hours from home. While there she learns the true meaning of friendship and family. She also has to tackle some pretty difficult issues when an unlikely crush shows up. It was interesting for me to observe Tibby during this time in her life as she is starting to come into her own as a young woman. She's forced to make some pretty tough decisions and you can see her maturing. Tibby is also still grieving for for Bailey which ends up being a source for her artistic endeavors. This is also one of the first times I have seen Tibby be truly remorseful about her treatment of others.
Bridget has changed so much since I first met her. She was spunky and vivacious in the first novel, but the weight of her guilt over last summer and lingering emotions from her mother's death won't let her be. Bridget withdraws into herself and seeks to become someone else. She gains weight, quits the soccer team, and start hunting for answers. She stumbles upon correspondence from her grandmother that her father never bothered to mention. Her curiosity and need to know more about her mother drive her to spend the summer in Alabama with her maternal grandmother. I was also really impressed with Bridget's growth. She stands out to me as the character with the most emotional baggage and it was interesting to finally see her confront it head on. She certainly gains new perspective from this summer and I am anxious to see how it will impact her in the future.
Lena, was my favorite in book one, but I found that I didn't enjoy her segments of the book as much the second time around. Lena spends her summer working at a clothing store and pining for Kostos. I was so annoyed by her since she broke up with him in the first place. Lena doesn't have faith in herself or her feelings very often. She rarely listens to her heart. I wish that the girl would snap out of it and stop sabotaging her own happiness.
Finally, Carmen - hmmmm, I honestly couldn't stand her in this edition. She is whiny, vindictive, and selfish. Every other girl grows in some way during this novel, but I felt like Carmen remained static. She pitched fits in the first novel so I suppose I shouldn't be so surprised by her actions in this one, but I was still appalled at how she felt like it was her right to interfere in her mother's relationship - especially when her mother was trying to include her whenever possible. Carmen was flat out shady. I might have felt differently if her actions had been inspired by true concern for her mother's well being, but they weren't. She only cared about making sure there was still enough attention for herself. She never could see past her own emotions.
Overall, the girls were hit with some pretty rough stuff in this one. Other than Carmen, I think they all managed to handle things with grace and come out better people. My heart broke for Lena, I cheered when Tibby realized what a butthead she was being, I smiled every time Bridget's foot touched a soccer ball. Reading this series makes you feel like you are a part of the sisterhood. I'm excited to see how the girls will continue to evolve into women and what life has in store for them next.
One Last Gripe: I really only was frustrated by Carmen's portions of the book
My Favorite Thing About The Book: The character growth
First Sentence: Once there were four girls who shared a pair of pants.