Tuesday, June 4, 2013

3 willows

3 Willows by Ann Brashares
Publication Date: January 13, 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 318
Keywords: summer camp, sisterhood, friendships
Format Read: Hardcover
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 glamourous 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 A's. 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. 
It is a new summer. And a new sisterhood.
It's irritating when people compare an author's newer book to something they've already written. And I won't do that. But it was delightful to have some of the four girls I grew up with make cameos in this one. But moving on to the book.
Though the girls were separated for the majority of the novel, their stories actually flowed together with ease, and it made sense in the way Brashares wrote their lives. They were very rarely together, but the book focused on their developing friendship over the years, and it always reflected back to the beginnings of their friendship, and how basic relationships start at the true core and essence of people rather than small things that are happening throughout their lives. No matter what, these girls could always return to one another and keep up their strong friendships.

Ama's story was my favorite. I felt out of the three girls, she truly accomplished something that was difficult. She was non-outdoorsy girl who was not happy to be at a wilderness camp, but struggled and figured it out anyway. She remained mostly level-headed and true to herself throughout her summer, which was something Polly and Jo did not do, which is partly why I didn't like their stories as much.

Polly decided she wanted to be a model, lost a bunch of weight, and had issues with her mom that weren't totally resolved for me by the end. Her whole transformation was very naive and on the surface, and she even went to visit Jo unexpectedly. Now, Jo should not have been so cold-hearted toward her, but, in her defense, if I had a job and stuff to do and someone randomly showed up, I wouldn't stop my life for them. They both just kind of annoyed me for being so superficial and focused on the immediate present.

But the book was written extremely well (was there any surprise it wouldn't be?) and I was taken with it anyway, even though a few things about it annoyed me. There were a few things Brashares could have talked about more (what happened with Dia by the end and what happened with Finn in the past?), but overall, a good start to my summer reads.

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