Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books
Authors
Books
Features
Newletters and Alerts

Buy now from Random House

  • 3 Willows
  • Written by Ann Brashares
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780385736763
  • Our Price: $18.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - 3 Willows

Buy now from Random House

  • 3 Willows
  • Written by Ann Brashares
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780385738132
  • Our Price: $10.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - 3 Willows

Buy now from Random House

  • 3 Willows
  • Written by Ann Brashares
    Read by Kimberly Farr
  • Format: Unabridged Audiobook Download | ISBN: 9780739380437
  • Our Price: $18.50
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - 3 Willows

3 Willows

    Select a Format:
  • Book
  • eBook
  • Audiobook

The Sisterhood Grows

Written by Ann BrasharesAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Ann Brashares



eBook

List Price: $10.99

eBook

On Sale: January 13, 2009
Pages: 336 | ISBN: 978-0-385-73813-2
Published by : Delacorte Press RH Childrens Books

Audio Editions

Read by Kimberly Farr
On Sale: January 13, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7393-8043-7
More Info...
Listen to an excerpt
Visit RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO to learn more about audiobooks.


3 Willows Cover

Bookmark,
Share & Shelve:

  • Add This - 3 Willows
  • Email this page - 3 Willows
  • Print this page - 3 Willows
ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PRAISE & AWARDS PRAISE & AWARDS
RELATED VIDEOS RELATED VIDEOS
Tags for this book (powered by Library Thing)
friendship (44) fiction (39) ya (25) young adult (17) summer (13)
» see more tags
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

summer is a time to grow

seeds
Polly has an idea that she can't stop thinking about, one that involves changing a few things about herself. She's setting her sights on a more glamorous life, but it's going to take all of her focus. At least that way she won't have to watch her friends moving so far ahead.

roots
Jo is spending the summer at her family's beach house, working as a busgirl and bonding with the older, cooler girls she'll see at high school come September. She didn't count on a brief fling with a cute boy changing her entire summer. Or feeling embarrassed by her middle school friends. And she didn't count on her family at all. . .

leaves
Ama is not an outdoorsy girl. She wanted to be at an academic camp, doing research in an air-conditioned library, earning A's. Instead her summer scholarship lands her on a wilderness trip full of flirting teenagers, blisters, impossible hiking trails, and a sad lack of hair products.
It is a new summer. And a new sisterhood. Come grow with them.

Excerpt

One

The last day of school was a half day. Tomorrow the entire eighth grade would pile back into the gym for the graduation ceremony, but that was just for an hour and their families would be there. The next time Ama went to school, it would be high school.

Everything is changing, Ama thought.

Usually she took the bus home, but today she felt like walking, she wasn't sure why. She wasn't sentimental. She was purposeful and forward-looking, like her older sister. But it was an aimless time of day, and she wasn't hauling her usual twenty pounds of textbooks, binders, and notebooks. Today she felt like treading the familiar steps she'd walked so many times when she was younger, when she was never in a hurry.

She couldn't help thinking about Polly and Jo as she walked, so when she saw them up ahead, waiting at the light to cross East-West Highway, it almost felt like they appeared out of her memory.

Ama was surprised to see Polly and Jo together. From this long view, she was struck by the naturalness of the way they stood together and at the same time, the strain. She doubted they had started off from school together. These days Jo usually left school with her noisy and flirting group of friends to go to the Tastee Diner or to the bagel place around the corner. Polly went her own way--taking forever to pack up her stuff and often spending time at the library before heading home. Ama sometimes saw Polly at the library and they sat together out of habit. But unlike Ama, Polly wasn't there to do her homework. Polly read everything in the library except what was assigned.

As Ama got closer, she considered how little Jo looked like she used to in elementary school. Her braces were off, her glasses were gone, and she devotedly wore whatever the current marker for popularity was--at the moment, pastel plaid shorts and her hair in two braids. Ama considered how much Polly, in her long frayed shorts and her dark newsboy cap, looked the same as she always had.

"Ama! Hey!" Polly saw her first. She was waving excitedly. The walk sign illuminated and Ama hurried to catch up to them so they could cross the highway together.

"I can't believe you're here," Polly said, looking from Ama to Jo. "This is historic."

"It's on her way home," Jo pointed out, not seeming to want to acknowledge the significance of the three of them walking home together on this day.

Ama understood how Jo felt. The history of their friendship was like a brimming and moody pond under a smooth surface of ice, and she didn't want to crack it.

As they walked they talked about final exams and graduation plans. Nobody said anything as they passed the 7-Eleven or even as they approached the old turn.

What if we turned? Ama suddenly wondered. What if they ran down the old hill, past the playground, and stepped into the woods to see the little trees they had planted so long ago? What if they held hands and ran as fast as they could?

But the three of them passed the old turn, heads and eyes forward. Only Polly seemed to glance back for a moment.

Anyway, even if they did turn, Ama knew it wouldn't be the same. The creaky metal merry-go-round would be rusted, the swing set abandoned. The trees might not even be there anymore. It had been so long since they'd tended to them.

Ama pictured her younger self, running down the hill with her two best friends, out of control and exhilarated.

It was different now. People changed and places changed. They were going into high school. This was no time for looking back. Ama couldn't even picture the trees. She couldn't remember the name of the hill anymore.


Polly
When I think of the first day of our friendship, I think of the three of us running across East-West Highway with our backpacks on our backs and our potted plants in our hands. I think of Jo dropping her plant in the middle of the street and all of us stopping short, and the sight of the little stalk turned on its side and the roots showing and the soil spilling onto the asphalt. I remember the three of us stooping down to put the plant back into its pot, hurriedly tucking its roots back under the dirt as the walk signal turned from white walk to blinking orange don't walk. And I remember Ama shouting that we had to hurry, and seeing, over my shoulder, the cars pouring over the hill toward us. I remember the rough feeling of the asphalt scraping under my fingers as I swept up the last of the dirt, the stinging feeling of my knuckles as I tried to gather it in my fist. I think it was Jo who grabbed my arm and pulled me to the sidewalk. And I remember the long, flat swell of the horns in my ears.


Ama
We met on the first day of third grade, because of all the 132 kids in our grade, we were the three who didn't get picked up. I was spooked, because my mom had never failed to pick me up from school. She'd never even been late before.

We didn't talk to each other at first. I was embarrassed and scared and I didn't want to show it. They put us in the math help room with the see-through walls. We stared out like a zoo exhibit waiting for our parents to come.

That was the day they gave out the little willow tree cuttings in plastic pots in our science class. We were supposed to take care of them and study them all year. I remember each of us sitting at a desk with our plant in front of us. Polly kept poking at hers to see if the soil was too dry. She hummed.

Jo put her sneakers up on the desk and leaned back. She said her plant probably wouldn't last through the week.

I couldn't believe how casual the two of them were about being left at school. I was freaked out, but later on I learned that my mother had a really good excuse for not showing up that day.
Ann Brashares

About Ann Brashares

Ann Brashares - 3 Willows

Photo © Sigrid Estrada

“I don’t really write with the idea of trying to teach any lessons. I want to tell a story as truthfully and engagingly as I can, and then let the chips fall where they may.”—Ann Brashares

Ann Brashares grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with three brothers and attended a Quaker school in the D.C. area called Sidwell Friends. She studied Philosophy at Barnard College, part of Columbia University in New York City. Expecting to continue studying philosophy in graduate school, Ann took a year off after college to work as an editor, hoping to save money for school. Loving her job, she never went to graduate school, and instead, remained in New York City and worked as an editor for many years. Ann made the transition from editor to full-time writer to write her first novel, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ANN BRASHARES ON THE SECOND SUMMER OF THE SISTERHOOD

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, your debut novel, received much critical praise, awards, and adoration from readers of all ages. What are your thoughts on its success and why do you think it resonated so heavily with readers?

Its success has been a wonderful surprise each step of the way. From the outset I tried to keep my expectations very low. I know how hard it is to get a book published let alone have it succeed. I’ve read many excellent books that did not succeed commercially. Here I give credit to the publisher, Random House, and to the booksellers. They supported the book wholeheartedly.

To the extent that it has resonated with readers, I am grateful for it. I sense that they have responded, more than anything else, to the unconditional love and loyalty that the Sisterhood represents.

Has the success changed your writing process and expectations for the The Second Summer of the Sisterhood?

I tried not to let the success change anything, but it kept creeping into my consciousness anyway. I worried that I wouldn’t live up to the hopes of my readers. I worried that I would forget how to write. I worried that I never knew how to write in the first place. I worried a lot and I wrote very little.

When I finally forced myself back to my computer, I worried I had fallen out of touch with my characters. They felt to me like friends with whom I'd been intensely close, but hadn't seen in a long time. It's painful, in a way, to have to ask clunky, anonymous questions of people you used to know in an intimate, hour-by-hour way. Luckily, though, when I started to spend real time with Carmen and Bee and Tibby and Lena, I relaxed. I grew close to them again and enjoyed being with them so much, I forgot all the things I was worrying about.

As for expectations, I still try to keep them in check. But I do allow myself to hope. I hope that readers who liked the first book will like the second one, too.

Did you plan for the girls’ relationships with their mothers to play a stronger role in The Second Summer of the Sisterhood? Does your relationship with your own mother resemble any from the book?

It didn’t start out that way exactly. As I was working out stories for each of the girls, I realized that most of them involved their mothers to some degree. So I just went with it. The mother-daughter bond is about as rich a subject as any I know. And I felt those relationships could give a center of gravity to a book that otherwise ran the risk of going in too many directions at once.

My relationship with my mother doesn’t resemble any of the ones in the book precisely. There are some thematic similarities to Carmen, though, in that my parents were divorced and I had to come to terms with my mom having a romantic life of her own.

As the mother of three young children, do you find that you relate more to the girls or their mothers?

Even though I’m closer to the age of the mothers, I related more to the daughters. I think that’s because I wrote the book from the girls’ points of view. Although I tried really hard to imagine how the mothers would feel, I didn’t actually spend my days thinking their thoughts the way I do when I’ m writing in a character’s point of view.

Also, my daughter is not a teenager yet. When she gets to be a teenager, then I’ll really understand what those mothers go through.

Female friendship remains a central theme in the second book, do you have your own Sisterhood? In your writing, you seem to have a real understanding of the importance of those bonds, how have you come to know that?

I have a few very good old friends from childhood and some more recent friends whom I love dearly. But truthfully, I think the Sisterhood is more fantasy than reality for me. I grew up in a house full of boys (wonderful boys, I should mention), and always dreamed about sisters.

Do you have a sense of where the girls will be “next summer”? How do you see their growth continuing?

Next summer will be the girls’ last before they split up to go to college. That’s going to be a big deal for them. I suspect Tibby is going to fall in love for the first time. I have a feeling Bridget might encounter Eric, the soccer coach, again. I have a few other plans up my sleeve, but I think I better keep them secret.

What do you hope readers will take away from this second book?

I don’t really write with the idea of trying to teach any lessons. I want to tell a story as truthfully and engagingly as I can, and then let the chips fall where they may. But I realize when I get to the end of the story, I care very much that my characters evolve and grow. In spite of their torments and their selfish impulses, I care that they are guided by a spirit of goodness. I want them to set a high standard for compassion and for friendship.

ANN BRASHARES ON THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS

How did you come up with the book’s unique central concept? Why traveling pants?

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
was born in an unusual way. I was working as an editor at the time, chatting in the office with a colleague and friend who told me about a summer when she and some girl friends shared a pair of pants. She told me the pants had sadly been lost in Borneo. My mind was immediately filled with all sorts of wonderful possibilities.

I think pants have unique qualities, especially in a woman’s life. Whatever bodily insecurities we have, we seem to take out on our pants. In high school, my friends would have their skinny pants and their fat pants. I like pants that allow women not to judge their bodies. The Traveling Pants are the kind of pants that always love you. They fit my characters’ bodies in a non-restrictive way.

Describe your favorite pair of pants. What makes them your favorite?

At the moment, my favorite pair of pants are bright red. They are cropped, slightly flared summer pants. Like a good friend, they are flexible, forgiving, and boost my confidence even on really off days. They are low maintenance pants–never requiring dry cleaning or even ironing. The waistline is zippered and definite, so it doesn't have that subtly defeated quality of elastic. And these pants manage to make me feel loved even through major body transitions (like having a baby!).

This story should resonate with young women because sharing clothes is such an integral part of many female friendships. Did you have a clothes-sharing experience that helped to shape the book?

The concept of The Pants is directly related to my experience with my wedding dress. Before I had chosen a wedding dress, I had a picture in my mind of what mine would look like. One day, my mom and I were touring wedding venues in the Washington, DC area where I grew up. Our guide showed us some wedding photographs, and one of them showed a bride wearing a dress just like the one I had imagined. The tour guide invited me to take the picture home, so I did, and I left it in my drawer.

A few months later, the sister of a friend, a young woman named Hope, asked if I had picked my wedding dress. I hadn't. Hope’s recent wedding hadn’t worked out. She wasn't broken-hearted about the groom, but she was broken-hearted about her beautiful, amazing dress not being worn. She asked me if I would consider wearing it at my wedding. I didn't know Hope very well, so I politely declined a few times. Yet she was strangely insistent and later arrived at our friend's apartment with a huge box. Through the clear plastic front I could see that the dress inside was remarkably familiar. It was exactly the same as the dress in the photograph I had put in my drawer. I was ecstatic.

I tried to give the dress back to Hope, after I had worn it in my wedding, but she didn't want it.

So I decided, in the spirit of her generosity, that it was a fortuitous, serendipitous kind of dress, and needed to be shared some more. Since then, it has been worn beautifully by my older brother's wife, my middle brother's wife, and my lifelong best friend. These are probably the three women I am closest to in my life–my own sisterhood. I'm hoping it will be worn again. In fact, I am imagining that instead of the next bride throwing the bouquet at the end of the wedding, she can ball up my wedding dress and throw that.

Much of the novel takes place in Baja and Greece. Did travel play an influential role in your childhood or teenage years?

I love to travel and have taken a lot of trips, but have never actually been to either Baja or Greece. I did a lot of reading and imagining for those stories. They existed more in my imagination than any place else. I love islands. I loved that Oia, the town where Lena’s grandparents lived, was stuck in time and had this geological drama in the background.

I grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, which was very Plain Jane. When I was a kid, I had a scrapbook that I used to write letters in from places I wished I could have gone. I would imagine being in Argentina and then write about all the incredible things I was seeing there. This book is almost like a continuation of those imaginary years.

How old were you when you first fell in love? Who was he? Where were you?

I first fell in love when I was 14 or 15, but it wasn’t immediate falling in love, it was a slow… slow fall. The person I fell in love with immediately was my husband. He is an artist and we met during my freshman year at Barnard. He sat across from me and drew a picture of me in the Columbia University Philosophy Reading Room. I hadn’t even noticed him, but a friend of mine saw what he was doing and told me. As soon as I went out with him, that was it. It was the first time I felt like I loved someone instantly. We’ve been together ever since.

You’ve written about four very different girls. Are the characters in this book based on people you know or wish you had known?

Oddly enough, they aren’t. They are composites of different people. I based Lena's story on the Greek myth of Artemis, the proud, boy-hating goddess of the hunt who, when spotted bathing by a suitor, turns the poor guy into a stag. I wanted my Lena to be less pleased with herself, though, and for her suitor to be more formidable. The story of Tibby and Bailey I based on the great, great movie It's a Wonderful Life. Bailey started out more like an angel than a person. I imagined her as an angel who revealed the cynical little prejudices and presumptions that I remember finding so seductive when I was fifteen. Carmen was the girl who said things I could never say and Bridget was the girl who did things I would never do.

Who are you most like: Carmen, Tibby, Bridget or Lena?

There’s a little bit of me in each of them. I would say I have more in common with Lena and Carmen than the other two. I have some life experience in common with Carmen, but we are considerably different too. I am a little like Carmen in that I sometimes feel as if I lose myself when I'm out of context. Also, I have dealt with issues of divorce and step families. For the protection of the innocent, though, I must say that my own family circumstances were completely different than hers. As for Lena, I guess I know what it is to feel awkward and inward sometimes, and romantically, to feel like a big chicken. Sometimes the girls provided me with an escape or a fantasy.

Why did you choose Carmen to set up the story?

Carmen struck me as the person who was most conscious–who recognized the importance of the girls’ friendship. She didn’t just live it, she knew it inside and out. I think she’s the most introspective of the four.

What do you think are the most important aspects of female relationships?

Loyalty and love. And I mean the kind of love that parents have–unconditional. So often, relationships become competitive or marked by pettiness or envy. For relationships to really transcend the negative stuff in life, they need to be without judgement. I wanted to create a story about a rare bunch of girls who didn't succumb to malice or jealousy and, instead, learned to grow alongside each other and in support of each other. I like the idea in this book, particularly for Carmen, that they are just going to love each other whole-heartedly, no matter what.

Do you think those things change as people get older?

I think that relationships do change over time. And that’s another reason why Carmen has the role she does. She has an awareness that the relationship is fragile and that so many other priorities, like boyfriends or distance, can get in the way. People’s lives inevitably go in different directions as they get older, when they stop having so much in common. They have to work not to let it go.

What do you hope teens will take away from reading The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?

Honestly, I mostly hope they'll enjoy it and take pleasure away. I want it to be the kind of book that will stick with them a bit, the way books I liked when I was that age stuck with me. If there's a message, I guess it's just this: love yourself and your friends unconditionally.
Praise | Awards

Praise

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, November 10, 2008:
“Brashares gets her characters’ emotions and interactions just right.”

Awards

WINNER 2009 Kid's Indie Next List "Inspired Recommendations for Kids from Indie Booksellers"
Related Videos

On the Web


Watch a video of Ann Brashares as she discusses her new novel, 3 WILLOWS:THE SISTERHOOD GROWS!

Your E-Mail Address
send me a copy

Recipient's E-Mail Address
(multiple addresses may be separated by commas)

A personal message: