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Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood    by Ann Brashares order for
Girls in Pants
by Ann Brashares
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

In Girls in Pants, Ann Brashares continues the story of four girls, who have been close friends since childhood. Carmen, Tibby, Bridget, and Lena have graduated from high school, and are employed for the summer. The friends plan a weekend at Rehoboth Beach together before they enter different colleges in September. They are bonded not only by their hearts, but also by 'Traveling Pants' - a magic pair of jeans they share between them.

Carmen struggles with mixed emotions when she learns that mom and stepdad are expecting a baby. She's hired for the summer as caretaker to Lena's grandmother Valia. Widowed the previous year, Grandma is despondent and bitter about having to leave Greece. Carmen transports her to the hospital for regular checkups, and there meets pre-med student Winthrop Sawyer. Tibby has been accepted at New York University, where she will major in film. She works at the movie theater. Her relationship with Brian progresses after he asks her to be his date at senior night. But she blames herself after her three-year old sister Katherine is hospitalized for a fractured skull and a broken collar bone.

Bridget plans to enter Brown University. Her summer is spent at a Pennsylvania soccer camp, while her three friends remain in Bethesda, Maryland. Bridget was selected to coach a boys' team, and her reputation in athletics precedes her. Bree is surprised to find a former love interest, Eric Richmond, also coaching at the camp. Bridget and Eric are assigned as camp partners - for Bridget, teamwork with Eric could get more than uncomfortable. Lena, accepted at Rhode Island School of Design, seeks a future in art. Her summer includes a local art course, and working in a restaurant. After her parents withdraw their financial support for art college, art instructor Annik encourages Lena to apply for a merit scholarship.

Ann Brashares adeptly pens the third in her Summer of the Sisterhood series. I enjoyed the story as a light read, but found the plots weak. Though the activity of each heroine is interesting, the depth of friendship, as well as the telling, is shallow and breezy. There is a big void in the significance of the 'magic travelling pants'. I recommend Girls in Pants to those who have read the first two books and want to round off the series, as well as to teens who seek a mild conversational story.

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