rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’ll admit it – I like the Traveling Pants books. They’re fun, with just enough reality, and the overlapping stories work well. So I was curious to see what Brashares did with another group of girls – whether 3 Willows felt repetitive or like something fresh. I think the answer is a book that will keep fans happy without stringing out yet another sequel.
3 Willows takes place in the same world of the Pants books – several characters from that series make guest appearances, but in a way that wouldn’t confuse readers unfamiliar with the first series. What I liked best is the way the story examines a different type of friendship between the girls. They’re not best friends anymore, and they’ve been drifting apart as they head to high school. They’re spending the summer apart without expecting to miss each other. But of course the story ends up bringing them back together. Nothing earth-shattering or amazing here, but a sweet story about growing up, friendship, and family – things that middle school girls are thinking about as they start high school.
It sounds like Brashares is planning on at least a sequel, but in the meantime this is a fine stand-alone title that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to fans of the Pants books or girls who like stories about friendships. The audio version is fine, although sometimes the accents were a little distracting.