This time, they’re no longer sharing pants.
The celebrated foursome from Ann Brashares’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series is back—older, and sans jeans.
Similar to the popular Sweet Valley High reboot, Sisterhood Everlasting, published by Random House, revisits its familiar protagonists after ten years. The Maryland-raised girls who once shared a pair of magical jeans are now pushing 30 is this fifth literary installment.
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The novels preceding the fifth book were adapted into two films released in 2005 and 2008; both featured the quartet of BFFs and their coming-of-age. There was cranky Carmen, played by America Ferrera of Ugly Betty fame; the bone-digging and beautiful Bridget, played by TIME 100 honoree Blake Lively; writer Lena, played by Alexis Bledel of Gilmore Girls; and goth filmmaker Tibby, played by Amber Tamblyn, who most recently starred in House.
The girls traveled to and lived in different parts of the world, but were always connected by a pair of denim pants; the legwear symbolized a special bond, as well as each character’s growth and self-validation. Even better, the jeans had the unexplained ability to fit all four of them—despite their vast range in weight and height.
From The Babysitter’s Club to Sex and the City, stories about female posses have always championed the power of friendship. Literary re-boots and film sequels even further boost the theme of female-centric love; despite getting older and having grown-up problems, your girlfriends will always have your back.
But what happens when the unimaginable happens? (Click here to find out what.) Indeed, Brashares takes it there — dooming one character to make this the darkest novel of the entire series.
What gives? Wasn’t this supposed to be a comforting series on friendship that utilized the fantasy of one-size-fits-all? Perhaps the use of tragic literary twists is the best way to sell tween-turned-adult fiction these days; after all, no one wants to read about happy people. As Brashares explains, “These girls had to grow up.” But perhaps the chick lit reboot trend is just solidifying what we already know: Life after college is a beautiful mess.