Even the cover looks Nicholas Sparks-ish.
Nostalgia Moment: When I was a teen my favorite books were the "pants" books (a.k.a those books that were turned into movies with that girl from Gilmore Girls and that other girl from Joan of Arcadia).
This should pretty much sum up the first four books. Note, Hollywood has made quite a few changes in how the storyline goes.
General Summary: Ever wondered what happened those girls from the sisterhood of the traveling pants books, besides the fact that Bridget is on Gossip Girl and is dating Ryan Reynolds and neither Carmen, Tibby, or Lena have been seen since their respected shows got canceled. Well have no fear, this book answers all these questions. And then some when Brashares takes the sisterhood ten years into the future.
I'll admit it, despite the fact that the logical part of my brain kept screaming that this was just an attempt to milk the already milked out cash cow, I couldn't help but get my hands on this book as soon as I saw it JFK airport last year and finished it by the time I got to Ireland. It also might have finished because I couldn't stand are choices of in-flight movies (seriously, Just Go With It was the only quasi decent movie I watched on the plane ride and that's saying something).
My ultimate relationship with this book was much like I was about it's existence. I had lots and lots of bones to pick with Brashares, but at the end of the day the nostalgic lover for these books in me loved this book.
The major issue I had with this one: a certain character's death.
The character, who I won't be naming for those who are weary of spoilers, was one of my favorites. Having him/her die so early in the book was real mean of Brashares in my opinion. I wanted some time with this character to at least say my own good byes to him/her, but Brashares didn't give me that chance. She pulled the plug so fast on this character that I was left gobsmacked.
After being frustrated about this throughout most of the book, I reflected on this. And came to the conclusion that maybe killing off the character the way Brashares did was the best decision she could've made.
It sounds awful, it really does. And when I heard that this character died I was like fuck what a stupid plot device, but the thing is this particular plot device actually gave way to a very poignant story. Okay, sure there were times I thought I was reading a Nicholas Sparks novel with the way I was wailing, but it really was a beautiful ending to the series.
Seriously, I had to wonder if Sparks actually ghost wrote this. But I'm pretty sure he didn't since no one died via mud slide.
I will mention though that I felt a lot of disconnect in this particular installment with the other books in the series. While the character still contained core details, I sometimes felt like I was reading about different characters. Take the characterization of Carmen for instance. While it's still Carmen I'm reading about, it's not. Parts of her character seem to have been twisted and contorted I could say the same with Bee (whose character has seemed to devolve to what it was in the early books, for a good chunk of the book).
Carmen what happened to your sassy, curvy, Latina self? Seriously, it felt like you were replaced by a pod person.
Best Feature: Closure. If you were like me and still had many answers after Forever in Blue and didn't like the fact that the whole Lena and Kostos thing was never resolved. You'll probably like this book. Questions about who the characters end up with, what they're doing with their lives will be answered. While I did like the ending of Forever in Blue, I enjoyed this one.
Worst Feature: Character's Death: Once agian, I am not going to go into spoiler specifics,other than I was upset that a certain character died and for that matter so early in the It really almost made me put down the book. However, I am glad I continued reading it because I felt that Brashares did give her characters a nice ending.
Appropriateness: This is an adult book, unlike the other books in the series. Though honestly, I am a bit reluctant to call it part of the series since there's a big disconnect in this novel and its predecessors. Never the less, this book deals with serious subject matter such as death, sex, alcohol consumption, and abortion. However, I thought the way these subjects were handled was done with grace.
Blockbuster Worthy: Well, it's already been done twice. Could there be another movie, yeah I guess so. But I think the first two movies wrapped up everything nicely so why do a third. Oh wait, this is Hollywood we're talking about....
Overall Rating: Six out of ten pairs of jeans. There were parts of it I really liked, but at the same time I couldn't help but feel that this book was a bit unnecessary and for that matter that parts of it felt like bad fan fiction written by Nicholas Sparks.