I was one of those followers of the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" series, written by Ann Brashares, anxiously awaiting each new release. I simply found those books pure entertainment, filled with issues that relate to teen girls and with writing that was simple enough to not cause brain overload while reading.
When I heard Brashares was expanding her sisterhood series with a new selection featuring 3 girls going to the same high school as the original sisters, I was definitely intrigued and looking forward to the book. What I found was definitely easy reading with lots of girly issues freshman in high school often face (acceptance, peer pressure, fitting in, academic achievement), but with a lot of predictability and some poor situations.
In 3 Willows, Jo, Ama, and Polly were friends throughout elementary school and most of middle school, but the summer before they're to head to high school, it's obvious they've grown apart. Jo is set to spend her summer at the beach, with her new and popular friends, working at a restaurant while gaining all important access with the in-crowd. Unfortunately, her parent's separation was not part of the ultimate summer plan.
Ama is super obsessed with her grades and getting into a good school, having applied for a special scholarship to attend an academic camp for the summer. When the academic camp falls through and instead Ama is sent to spend her entire summer in the great wilderness with an adventure group, she is completely terrified and knows she will fail. Working with a group of kids should doesn't know (and doesn't really want to know), Ama has to work through anxiety, fear, and stubbornness in order to achieve a passing grade for her summer course.
Polly, curvy, bucktoothed, Polly, wants nothing more than to be noticed. In her eyes, models have the perfect life style and she wants to attend a model camp for the summer, believing if she takes the right classes and loses enough weight, she'll finally be noticed by her mom. What she learns instead is that her mom is suffering from a drinking problem and all the weight loss and classes in the world won't fix that.
As I'm sure you can all imagine, all the girls' problems are slowly worked out and by the end, they're friends again. Which as cookie-cutter as that may be, is what a lot of middle grade/teen girls enjoy, so the predictability is alright with me. I didn't really enjoy when Jo starts making out with some boy she met 5 seconds ago on a bus. Didn't really seem like a 13/14 year old thing to do. And if it is....I'm nervous for the next generation!
For fans of Ann Brashares "Sisterhood" series, this won't quite match up, but it's a decent new addition of a friendship book and will please the 12-16 age group.
If you would like to learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.
3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows
Young Adult (though ok for MG in my opinion)