Lena, Carmen, Bridget (a.k.a. Bee) and Tibby were all born in the month of September. Their mothers had become good friends during their prenatal classes. The four girls, as different as the four seasons of the year, became integral parts of each other. As they now approach their thirtieth birthdays, they have accidentally drifted. That unintentional loss of each other has caused each of them some malaise that they just can't quite finger.
A surprise invitation from Tibby to Greece, to reconvene in the same place where those infamous Traveling Pants were lost, aims to bring them all back together. Instead, tragedy drives them even further apart. As each girl struggles with loss and putting back together the pieces of her life, they uncover secrets about themselves and each other that ultimately bring them back together again.
When I first started reading this book, I wanted to know what had happened to Ann Brashares to make her weave such sadness into the plot. The first half of the book is utterly depressing, yet engrossing at the same time. I'm about five years older than the girls and can easily relate to their struggles and confusion. And I found it necessary to press on through the difficult times to come out okay on the other side, just like the characters did. Keep a box of tissues handy!
I enjoyed watching the girls, now well-developed women, grow into themselves even more. Most of the paths chosen by the girls feel true to the earlier novels. Carmen's newfound glitzy acting career almost sounds too good to be true and more shallow than her character seemed in the earlier books. Yet at the same time, it is plausible that she would accidentally end up on that path.
It feels like the kind of book that most women would relate to on some level. While the book is the fifth in a series, there is enough background information provided that the book can also stand on its own. Anyone who hasn't read the earlier novels will be inspired to go back in time.
I received a preview copy of the paperback version for the purposes of review through my association with NetGalley. All opinions presented in this review are my own.