Reviews for 3 Willows : The Sisterhood Grows
Booklist Reviews 2009 February #2
Brashares begins a new sisterhood series, with occasional cameos from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants gang. Ama, Jo, and Polly originally met in third grade. Now it s the summer before high school, and they re all dealing with disappointments and difficulties. Ghana-born overachiever Ama is horrified with her assignment to a summer wilderness camp instead of the academic program she was hoping for. Jo is dealing with her parents separation and the wildly attractive boy at work. Free-spirit Polly is struggling to transform herself into a model through radical dieting and modeling camps. There are glimpses of Tibby and Lena from the Pants series, but readers seeking old friends from the wildly popular series will be disappointed. However, Brashares has created an eminently likable trio of girls that tweens and younger teens will enjoy getting to know, and unlike the last Sisterhood books, there s no sex, just the occasional kiss. Multiple copies are in order for any community where the Sisterhood series is popular. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #2
The original Sisterhood is now the stuff of legend; in this fast-paced, readable novel, the story moves on to a new circle of friends, one with a strong past but a shaky present. Ama, Polly, and Jo sealed their friendship in third grade by planting three tiny willow trees together; but by their last year of middle school, the girls have drifted apart. The start of summer finds them awkwardly returning all the items they'd once borrowed, until "what little they'd still had of each other they didn't have anymore." As in the original series, the novel traces a single summer in which each girl experiences her own set of challenges. Bookworm Ama winds up on a wilderness trip, horrified by the prospect of hiking boots and no hair products; Polly, who has outwardly changed least since grade school, develops a dangerous obsession with becoming a model; status-conscious Jo takes a job at a beachside restaurant with the cool high school girls and has a fling with a gorgeous boy that ends in hurt and humiliation. Each girl finds herself longing for the other two and a return to their friendship. The characters are well developed, and their struggles (including more serious family issues of divorce and alcoholism) feel real. The end-of-summer resolution is a satisfying formula for middle-school readers, and a closing visit to the flourishing willow trees promises more to come. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2008 November #2
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants has entered college. Now, three younger girls are about to take its place. Jo, Polly and Ama have been friends since childhood, but as high school approaches the three find themselves growing in separate directions. As in the first Traveling Pants book, the girls are spending their first summer apart. Academic Ama is hiking her way to school credit. Sensitive, quirky Polly is at home, saving her money so she can attend modeling school. Jo, newly popular, travels to her family's beach home and works her first summer job. The girls find that their physical distance brings them closer emotionally. A sweetly sentimental narrative combined with story lines of romance and parent drama ensures that like the previous Pants books, this one will travel from girl to girl. At times the characters are difficult to distinguish from one another, and the parallels between the girls' friendship and the willow trees they planted as children go over the top, but that will not detract from the book's popularity. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 November #2
With the Traveling Pants series all wrapped up, Brashares introduces a new group of BFFs and addresses a slightly younger crowd. Living in the same town as the semilegendary Sisterhood girls, Ama, Polly and Jo have tried to share a pair of jeans and settled on a joint-property scarf (plus an induction ceremony), but their rituals are "lame," and so, they suspect, is their trio. Only socially backward Polly thinks she'll miss the others when all three disperse the summer before high school. In typical Brashares fashion, each girl faces unexpected tribulations: intellectually ambitious Ama, who is afraid of heights, has won a spot in a prestigious scholarship program--which sends her mountain climbing. Jo, newly told that her parents are divorcing, submerges her feelings in the excitement of being friends with a popular girl and having an older boyfriend--or so she thinks. Polly, sold out by Jo in the pursuit of cool, learns that her single mom is alcoholic. Fans will like the tidiness in the controlling metaphor, willow tree cuttings planted after a third-grade project, and for all the fidelity to formula, Brashares gets her characters' emotions and interactions just right. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) [Page 51]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2009 January
Gr 7-10--Incoming freshmen at the same high school that the original sisterhood attended, Ama, Jo, and Polly are learning that falling out of friendship is an unfortunate part of growing up. They're spending the summer apart--uprooted--dealing with divorce, unmet expectations, and, of course, boys. Fans of Brashares will likely be thrilled to get their hands on Willows, yet the story falls short of offering the chick-lit genre anything new. Undoubtedly, though, readers will become involved with the girls as they grow their separate ways, ultimately realizing that the roots of their friendship have never really come undone. The sweet (near sappy) novel will find a place on the to-read list of many tweens and teens.--Emily Chornomaz, Brooklyn Public Library, NY [Page 99]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2008 December
Polly, Jo, and Ama became best friends on their first day of third grade. Forgotten by their parents, the girls left school together with plants they were to care for and help grow into willow trees. As the plants grew, so did their friendship. For the next six years, the girls were inseparable, caring for Jo after her brother died, giving Polly a place to go when her Mom disappeared into her art studio, and encouraging Ama while her sister achieved academic heights. Now they have drifted apart without knowing exactly how it happened. Jo wants to be popular at any cost, even if the boy she likes is a player. Ama wants to rely on her brains and not her body, even though she's won a prized scholarship to a wilderness adventure. Polly wants to find herself, even if it means trying to reshape her body in an unhealthy way These friends are incoming freshman at the same high school setting as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, so fans will get a few glimpses of familiar characters. But that should not be the reason to read this new series. Instead be ready to enjoy the individual stories of three lapsed friends who find their way back to each other and who benefit from a stronger bond as a result of the journey back. The only disappointment comes from the lack of discussion or acknowledgment of Polly's brush with an eating disorder. Readers can only hope that it will be addressed in one of the next two proposed series books.-Stacey Hayman PLB $21.99. ISBN 978-0-385-90628-9. 4Q 5P M J S Copyright 2008 Voya Reviews.