They were just a soft, ordinary pair of thrift-shop jeans until the four girls took turns trying them on--four girls, that is, who are close friends, about to be parted for the summer, with very different sizes and builds, not to mention backgrounds and personalities. Yet the pants settle on each girl's hips perfectly, making her look sexy and long-legged and feel confident as a teenager can feel. "These are magical Pants!" they realize, and so they make a pact to share them equally, to mail them back and forth over the summer from wherever they are. Beautiful, distant Lena is going to Greece to be with her grandparents; strong, athletic Bridget is off to soccer camp in Baja, California; hot-tempered Carmen plans to have her divorced father all to herself in South Carolina; and Tibby the rebel will be left at home to slave for minimum wage at Wallman's.
Over the summer the Pants come to represent the support of the sisterhood, but they also lead each girl into bruising and ultimately healing confrontations with love and courage, dying and forgiveness. Lena finds her identity in Greece and the courage not to reject love; Bridget gets in over her head with an older camp coach; Carmen finds her father ensconced with a new fiancée and family; and Tibby unwillingly takes on a filmmaking apprentice who is dying of leukemia. Each girl's story is distinct and engrossing, told in a brightly contemporary style. Like the Pants, the reader bounces back and forth among the four unfolding adventures, and the melange is spiced with letters and witty quotes. Ann Brashares has here created four captivating characters and seamlessly interwoven their stories for a young adult novel that is fresh and absorbing. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell
From Publishers Weekly
A pair of jeans purchased at a thrift store is the unlikely bond that keeps four best friends emotionally connected during the first summer that they spend physically apart. This clever (if initially hokey-sounding) premise sets the course for four intertwined, compelling coming-of-age stories. Carmen doesn't think much of the pants she buys for $3.49, until she and her pals discover their magical quality. The jeans which fit each girl perfectly despite their very different body types serve as a surrogate friend for Tibby, Carmen, Lena and Bridget as they wrestle with new issues of first love, jealousy, fear and sadness in the months before their junior year of high school. Each girl has a turn with the pants, then sends them on to the next person in the rotation; by summer's end, when the friends are reunited, the jeans will be the symbol of what the girls have experienced. Goethals sounds every bit the teenager here, but her sometimes halting reading never quite captures the crackle of Brashares's writing style. In Goethals's command, the author's snappy asides and retorts occasionally sound cumbersome rather than humorous or biting, as they were intended. Many teen girls will likely take these shortcomings in stride and get lost in a story that speaks to them. Ages 12-up. Simultaneous release with Delacorte hardcover, reviewed in Children's Forecasts July 6.
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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.