Sunday 8 February 2009

3 Willows / Ann Brashares

Summary: Summer is a time to grow.
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.
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. . .
Ama is not an outdoorsy girl. She wanted to be at an academic camp, doing research in an air-conditioned library, earning As. 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.

Review - I have come to the conclusion that I don't gel with Ann Brashares writing. I can recognise that she's good but I can never find my way into one of her novels (with the exception of Tibby). I could argue that the Traveling Pants series were easier for me to relate to as the characters were older and slightly more mature but then I should have enjoyed The Last Summer (of You and Me). I just didn't care enough about Ama, Jo or Polly and I should have.

The immaturity of the characters bothered me. The complete lack of awareness bothered me more. I think this shows that Ann was probably doing a very good job of showing how far I have come since I was fourteen. That being said, how many fourteen year olds do you know that will kiss a stranger on a bus? Even if he is cute. This rankled me.

I like books with alternating perspectives but I didn't find one interesting here. The only time I perked up was during the glimpses of the Sisterhood, particularly the scene with Polly observing Brian missing Tibby. This is a well written, plotted and executed novel. I particularly liked the depiction of growing apart as friends, something everyone experiences in life. That being said, I think the characterisation was a little lacking for me as none of them really sparked off the page. I do see that many people will enjoy this novel and the numerous sequels that are bound to follow.

Published: January 2009

Format: Paperback, 318 pages

Publisher: Random House

Origin: USA

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Ann Brashares website
Ann Brashares talks about 3 Willows

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