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Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood    by Ann Brashares order for
Forever in Blue
by Ann Brashares
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Traveling Pants are back in the continuing Summer of the Sisterhood saga of four girls - Lena, Carmen, Bridget, and Tibby - who have been friends forever. They share a magic pair of thrift-store jeans, which fits each of them perfectly, despite their different shapes and sizes.

The series has taken them through the summers preceding their junior and senior years in high school (in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and The Second Summer of the Sisterhood) and on to post-graduation summer jobs in Girls in Pants. Now times have changed and they go their separate ways, with sporadic communication. This sometimes includes passing on the traveling pants, which take turns working their magic on each girl's life, with its attendant problems and anxieties.

In New York, Tibby works at Movieworld and takes film classes. She's happy in her relationship with Brian, who's almost too good to be true. Then, fueled by wine, they get 'together in a way they hadn't been before', she worries about consequences, and sees Brian in a new and unflattering light. Worried about her father and depressed brother's lifestyle, Bridget (Bee) heads to Turkey for an archeological dig, where she learns to feel a passion for the past, forgets her boyfriend Eric (who's gone to Mexico for the summer) almost too easily and gets close to a married university professor.

Lena, who previously loved and lost Kostos, is excited by Leo, a very talented fellow student in her painting class. She learns a great deal from him about both life and art, before she recalls what matters even more to her. Though her mother has moved on to a new life, Carmen has lost confidence and gained weight at Williams College. She's also befriended a girl named Julia, who reinforces her low self esteem. They've both signed up for a summer theater festival in Vermont. There, Carmen slowly comes out of her shell, finds her talent, and realizes she misses her true friends.

While apart and each following a passion, the foursome learn life lessons that they then bring back to enrich their own and others' lives. They also learn to value the real friendship that they share, and the connections to others that they'd begun to question. Not having followed the series, I was confused by the constant switching of points of view between the four friends, and had to flip pages to remind myself who was who. But I enjoyed Forever in Blue, in particular the very supportive friendship that these young women share.

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