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

Buy now from Random House

  • Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood
  • Written by Ann Brashares
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780385734011
  • Our Price: $9.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood

Buy now from Random House

  • Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood
  • Written by Ann Brashares
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780375843181
  • Our Price: $9.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood

Buy now from Random House

  • Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood
  • Written by Ann Brashares
    Read by Angela Goethals
  • Format: Unabridged Audiobook Download | ISBN: 9780739339435
  • Our Price: $18.50
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood

Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood

    Select a Format:
  • Book
  • eBook
  • Audiobook

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



eBook

List Price: $9.99

eBook

On Sale: January 09, 2007
Pages: | ISBN: 978-0-375-84318-1
Published by : Delacorte Press RH Childrens Books

Audio Editions

Read by Angela Goethals
On Sale: January 09, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7393-3943-5
More Info...
Listen to an excerpt
Visit RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO to learn more about audiobooks.


Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood Cover

Bookmark,
Share & Shelve:

  • Add This - Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood
  • Email this page - Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood
  • Print this page - Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood
ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tags for this book (powered by Library Thing)
fiction (137) friendship (121) young adult (119) ya (106) college (38)
» see more tags
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

“Genuinely moving," declared Entertainment Weekly of the fourth and final novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares, author of The Here and Now.

With unraveled embroidery and fraying hems, the Traveling Pants are back for one last, glorious summer. It’s a summer that will forever change the lives of Lena, Bridget, Tibby, and Carmen, here and now, past and future, together and apart.
 

“A strong, satisfying conclusion.” —Booklist    
                                                                              
“An ode to love and friendship.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A great read.” —Daily News (New York)

Pants = love. Love your pals. Love yourself.

Excerpt

PROLOGUE
Once upon a time there were four girls. Young women, you might even say. And though their lives traveled in different directions, they loved each other very much.
Once upon a time before that, these same girls found a pair of pants, wise and magical, and named them the Traveling Pants.
The Pants had the magic of teaching these girls how to be apart. They taught them how to be four people instead of one person. How to be together no matter where they were. How to love themselves as much as they loved each other. And on a practical level, the Pants had the magic of fitting all four of them, which is hard to believe but true, especially considering only one of them (the blonde) was built like a supermodel.
Okay. Full disclosure. I am one of these girls. I wear these Pants. I have these friends. I know this magic.
I am in fact the blonde, though I was kidding about the supermodel part.
But anyway, as it happens with most kinds of magic, these Pants did their job a little too well. And the girls, being extraordinary girls (if you don’t mind my saying so), learned their lesson a little too well.
And so when the girls’ lives changed that final summer, the Pants, being wise, had to change too.

And that is how this tale of sisterhood began, but did not end.

----------------------------------------------
Gilda’s was the same. It always was. And what a relief too, Lena found herself thinking. Good thing you could count on human vanity and the onward march of fitness crazes requiring mats and mirrors.

Not much else was the same. Things were different, things were missing.
Carmen, for instance, was missing.

“I can’t really see how we can do this without Carmen,” Tibby said. As was the custom, she’d brought her video camera for posterity, but she hadn’t turned it on. Nobody was quite sure about when posterity started, or if maybe it already had.

“So maybe we shouldn’t try,” Bee said. “Maybe we should wait until we can do it together.”

Lena had brought the candles, but she hadn’t lit them. Tibby had brought the ceremonial bad eighties aerobics music, but she hadn’t put it on. Bee had gamely set out the bowls of Gummi Worms and Cheetos, but nobody was eating them.
“When’s that going to be?” Tibby asked. “Seriously, I think we’ve been trying to get together since last September and I don’t think it has happened once.”
“What about Thanksgiving?” Lena asked.

“Remember I had to go to Cincinnati for Great-grandma Felicia’s hundredth birthday?” Tibby said.
“Oh, yeah. And she had a stroke,” Bee said.
“That was after the party.”
“And Carmen went to Florida over Christmas,” Lena said. “And you two were in New York over New Year’s.”

“All right, so how about two weekends from now? Carmen will be back by then, won’t she?”

“Yeah, but my classes start on June twentieth.” Lena clasped her hands around her knees, her large feet bare on the sticky pine floor. “I can’t miss the first day of the pose or I’ll end up stuck in a corner or staring at the model’s kneecap for a month.”

“Okay, so July fourth,” Tibby said reasonably. “Nobody has school or anything that Friday. We could meet back here for a long weekend?”

Bee untied her shoe. “I fly to Istanbul on June twenty-fourth.”

“That soon? Can you go later?” Tibby asked.

Bridget’s face dimmed with regret. “The program put us all on this charter flight. Otherwise it’s an extra thousand bucks and you have to find your own way to the site.”

“How could Carmen miss this?” Tibby asked.

Lena knew what she meant. It wasn’t okay for any of them to miss this ritual, but especially not Carmen, to whom it had mattered so much.

Bee looked around. “Miss what, though?” she asked, not so much challenging as conciliating. “This isn’t really the launch, right?” She gestured to the Pants, folded obediently in the middle of their triangle. “I mean, not officially. We’ve been wearing them all school year. It’s not like the other summers, when this was the huge kickoff and everything.”

Lena wasn’t sure whether she felt comforted or antagonized by this statement.
“Maybe that’s true,” Tibby said. “Maybe we don’t need a launch this summer.”
“We should at least figure out the rotation tonight,” Lena said. “Carmen will just have to live with it.”

“Why don’t we keep up the same rotation we’ve had going till now?” Bridget suggested, straightening her legs in front of her. “No reason to change it just because it’s summer.”

Lena bit the skin around her thumbnail and considered the practical truth of this.
Summer used to be different. It was the time they left home, split up, lived separate lives for ten long weeks, and counted on the Pants to hold them together until they were reunited. Now summer was more of the same. Being apart wasn’t the exception, Lena recognized, it was the rule.

When will we all be home again? That was what she wanted to know.

But when she thought about it logically, she knew: It wasn’t just the answer that had changed, it was the question. What was home anymore? What counted as the status quo? Home was a time and it had passed.

Nobody was eating the Gummi Worms. Lena felt like she should eat one or cry. “So we’ll just keep up the rotation,” she echoed wanly. “I think I get them next.”
“I have it written down,” Tibby said.
“Okay.”
“Well.”
Lena looked at her watch. “Should we just go?”
“I guess,” Tibby said.
“Do you want to stop at Tastee Diner on the way home?” Bridget asked.
“Yeah,” Tibby said, gathering the effects of a ritual that hadn’t quite happened. “Maybe we can see a late movie after. I can’t handle my parents tonight.”
“What time are you guys taking off tomorrow?” Bee asked.

“I think our train’s at ten,” Tibby said. Lena and Tibby were taking the train together: Tibby was getting off in New York to start film classes and her Movieworld job, and Lena was heading up to Providence to change dorm rooms for the summer. Bee was spending a few days at home before she left for Turkey.
Lena realized she didn’t want to go home just yet either. She picked up the Pants and cradled them briefly. She had a feeling she could not name exactly, but one she knew she had not had in relation to the Pants before. She had felt gratitude, admiration, trust. What she felt now still contained allthat , but tonight it was mixed in with a faint taste of desperation.

If we didn’t have them, I don’t know what we would do, she found herself thinking as Bee pulled the door of Gilda’s shut behind them and they walked slowly down the dark stairs.

--------
“Carmen, it is beautiful. I can’t wait for you to see it.”

Carmen nodded into the receiver. Her mother sounded so happy that Carmen had to be happy. How could she not be happy?

“When do you think you’ll move in?” she asked, trying to keep her voice light.
“Well, we will need to do some work. Some plastering, painting, refinishing the floors. There’s some plumbing and electrical to do. Hopefully we can get most of it out of the way before we move in. I hope it will be by the end of August.”
“Wow. That soon.”

“Nena, it has five bedrooms. Is that unbelievable? It has a beautiful backyard for Ryan to run around in.”

Carmen thought of her tiny brother. He could barely walk yet, let alone run. He was going to grow up with such a different life than the one Carmen had.
“So no more apartment, huh?”

“No. It was a good place for the two of us, but didn’t we always want a house? Isn’t that what you always said you wanted?”

She’d also wanted a sibling and for her mother not to be alone. It wasn’t always easy getting what you wanted.

“I’ll have to pack up my room,” Carmen said.

“You’ll have a bigger room in the new house,” her mother rushed to say.
Yes, she would. But wasn’t it a bit late for that? For having a house with a yard and a bigger room? It was too late to redo her childhood. She had the one she had, and it had taken place in her small room in their apartment. It was sad and strange to lose it and too late to replace it.

Where did that leave her? Without her old life and not quite coming up with a new one. In between, floating, nowhere. That seemed all too fitting, in a way.
“Lena dropped by yesterday to say hi and see Ryan. She brought him a Frisbee,” her mother mentioned a little wistfully. “I wish you were home.”
“Yeah. But I’ve got all this stuff going on here.”

“I know, nena.”
After she hung up with her mother, the phone rang again.
“Carmen, where are you?”

Julia Wyman sounded annoyed. Carmen glanced behind her at her clock.
“We’re supposed to be doing a run-through on set in . . . now!”

“I’m coming,” Carmen said, pulling on her socks as she held the phone with her shoulder. “I’ll be right there.”

She hustled out of her dorm and to the theater. She remembered along the way that her hair was dirty and she’d meant to change her pants, because the ones she was wearing made her feel particularly fat. But did it matter? Nobody was looking at her.

Julia was waiting for her backstage. “Can you help me with this?” For her role in the production, Julia wore a long tweed skirt, and the waist was too big for her.
Carmen bent down to work on the safety pin. “How’s that?” she asked, pinning the waistband in the back.

“Better. Thanks. How does it look?”
Julia looked good in it. Julia looked good in most things, and she didn’t need Carmen to tell her so. But Carmen did anyway. In a strange way, it was Julia’s job to look good for both of them. It was Carmen’s job to appreciate her for it.
“I think Roland is waiting for you onstage.”

Carmen stepped onto the stage, but Roland didn’t appear to be waiting for her. He didn’t react in any way when he saw her. These days she felt her presence had the same effect as a ghost—nobody noticed her, but the air suddenly got cold. Carmen squinted and tried to make herself small. She did not like being onstage when the lights were on. “Did you need something?” she asked Roland.
“Oh, yeah.” He was trying to remember. “Can you fix the curtain in the parlor? It’s falling off.”

“Sure,” she said quickly, wondering if she should feel guilty. Was she the one who put it up last?

She positioned the ladder, climbed up three rungs, and aimed a staple gun at the plywood wall. Set building was strange in that it was always about the impression, made to be seen from particular angles and not made to last. It existed in space and time not as a thing, but as a trick.
She liked the chunk sound of the staple clawing into the wall. It was one of the things she’d learned at college: how to operate a staple gun. Her dad was paying a lot of money for that.

She’d learned other stuff too. How to gain seventeen pounds eating cafeteria food and chocolate at night when you felt lonely. How to be invisible to guys. How not to wake up for your nine o’clock psychology class. How to wear sweatshirts almost every day because you felt self-conscious about your body. How to elude the people you loved most in the world. How to be invisible to pretty much everyone, including yourself.

It was lucky she’d gotten to know Julia. Carmen was very fortunate, she knew. Because Julia was one of the most visible people on campus. They balanced each other out. Without Julia on the campus of Williams College, Carmen privately suspected she might disappear altogether.
For more of this excerpt go to www.SisterhoodCentral.com!


From the Hardcover edition.
Ann Brashares

About Ann Brashares

Ann Brashares - Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood

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.

Your E-Mail Address
send me a copy

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

A personal message: