The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

By: 

Ann Brashares

Number of Pages: 

294

Minimum grade level: 

8th

Carmen got the jeans at a thrift shop. They didn't look all that great; they were worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them. But Tibby says they're great. She'd love to have them. Lena and Bridget also think they're fabulous. Lena decides they should all try them on. Whoever they fit best will get them. Nobody knows why, but the pants fit everyone perfectly. Even Carmen (who never thinks she looks good in anything), thinks she looks good in the pants. 

Over a few bags of cheese puffs they decide to form a sisterhood, and take the vow of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The next morning, they say goodbye. And now the journey of the pants-and the most memorable summer of their lives begins.

Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. The girls see the pants as "magical", although they aren't magical in the fantasy sense. What makes the pants magical to each character and to the group as a whole?
  2. Why do you think the author uses pants as the traveling item? Do you think she could have used a different item? If so, what else could she have used? If not, why?
  3. Each of the four main characters learns something important during this summer, although the novel doesn't state exactly what those lessons are. What did each character learn about life and relationships? What did you learn from the characters?
  4. During these crises each girl needed advice from her friends that she did not really get, what advice would you have given them?
  5. Of the four characters, which one did you relate to the most, which one best mirrors you? Why? Which one would mostly likely be a friend of yours? Why?
  6. Lena and Bridget both fall in love over the summer, but neither relationship is ever fully developed, and each has to leave her newfound love behind. What do you think happens between Lena and Kostos, and Bridget and Eric?
  7. Lena flies to Bridget to be a "mother" for her in her time of need. Of the three friends, why do you think it was Lena who acted as the "mother"? Why did Bridget send the letter that made Lena go to Baja in the first place to Lena instead of Carmen or Tibby?
  8. Towards the end of the novel Tibby looks at Tucker through Bailey's eyes and realizes that she doesn't know why she had a crush on him in the first place. How does Bailey see Tucker?
  9. When Carmen meets her dad's fiancé and her children, she assumes Lydia and her children are only worried about outside appearances. Why does she assume this and what truth does Carmen discover about them?

If you liked this book, try

  • All American Girl by Meg Cabot
  • Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
  • Girls in Love by Jacqueline Wilson
  • Mates, Dates, and Inflatable Bras by Cathy Hopkins
  • The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
  • Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.