Over the weekend, my boyfriend bought me the new Traveling Pants book. I finished reading it two nights ago. This more than likely marks the end of the series, because the Pants get destroyed at the end of the book (you learn this on the first page, so I am not giving much away).
It's hard to say too much about this book without making constant reference to the rest of the series, or without ruining it for those who haven't yet read the book. And since the book was released within the past six weeks, I'm sure there are some of you out there.
I think that if you liked the rest of the series, you will like this one too. It was a good, and realistic, ending to what has been, overall, a good and realistic series. I've written before about how Bridget, Tibby, Lena and Carmen appear as real people, not archetypes. But there's also a consistency of character there. Despite changes in their lives, you see them grow as people and experience ups and downs. When the book opens, we see (much to our surprise) that of the four, it's the emotional, outgoing Carmen who has not adjusted well to university life, whereas the two less outgoing girls of the group (Tibby and Lena) both successfully carved out niches for themselves.
At some points, the book dragged. And there were a few parts that felt less than realistic. We know from the other books that the girls grew up in Maryland, in the DC-Metro area. Tibby spent this summer taking classes at NYU, yet several of the characters repeatedly and spontaneously make the journey up there, only to talk to her for a half hour. There were a few times when I was practically screaming "Come on! That's a 600 mile round trip!"
But overall, the takeaway lessons of the series are positive: be true to your friends. Rely on yourself, but don't forget the people who care about you, either. It's OK to fuck up -- everyone does it occasionally. Things don't always work out for the best, but every situation you'll be in will ultimately resolve itself one way or another, and there's nothing so bad you can't move past it. Don't be afraid to take chances. And above all, as the series shows, have fun while you're doing your thing! This series, for all of its morals, was a lot of fun. I will be interested to see what's next for Ann Brashares.