Alloy Entertainment announced that "Sisterhood Everlasting," the fifth and final book in Ann Brashares' "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" book series, will be made into a movie. The news doesn't come as a surprise, since "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" and "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2" both won over audiences in 2005 and 2008, respectively. But longtime fans of the series will know that "Sisterhood Everlasting" shouldn't be lumped in with the other YA novels-turned-films heading to the box office.
Released in 2011, the book catches up with the four best friends 10 years after the fourth novel and almost immediately takes a tragic turn. Tibby, Bridget, Lena and Carmen aren't "Cool Girls," female antiheroes or young women saving the world from dystopian disaster. Brashares and the film adaptations flesh out the characters, pass the Bechdel test and tackle real talk.
Dozens of YA adaptions have flopped at the box office -- "Divergent," "The Hunger Games" and "Twilight" are the exceptions, not the rules -- even when their literary counterparts were bestsellers with teens and adults. (Think "The Lovely Bones.") But we are forever in the pro-YA camp. Chloe Moretz in "If I Stay"? Pass the tissues, please. "The Giver" featuring a brunette Taylor Swift? Let's start the countdown. That's why we're psyched the powers that be at Alloy wrangled the original director, Ken Kwapis, to begin development on "Sisterhood Everlasting" the movie. Here are five reasons why it deserves a second glance, despite that damn "YA curse."
Spoiler Alert: even for other series -- cough, "Divergent" -- but you should know that by now.
1. One of the main characters dies.
"Sisterhood Everlasting" finds Tibby living in Australia with Brian and she has little to no contact with the other girls. Instead, she's pregnant with Bailey and battling Huntington's disease. She calls on Bridget, Lena and Carmen for one last trip to Greece, but they don't know she's sick. While swimming on the shores of Greece, Tibby dies. Right off the bat, Brashares means business. Sure, she's killed off characters before in the series -- remember sweet Bailey? -- but Tibby's death signifies that the girls have grown into adults. Life has never been easy for these four friends, but the loss of the series' reliable narrator forces readers, and now viewers, to lean on the other women as they move forward without their storyteller.
2. No one is a sacrificial lamb.
Other YA heroines die all the time. Critics of "Allegiant," the third installment in Veronica Roth's mega-successful "Divergent" series, ask why the main character, Tris, has to die. She doesn't, really, fans say. She does so almost selfishly. "Everlasting" uses Tibby's death as a starting point, not as a statement against authoritative forces or to protect a man. It's a plot point used to bring Carmen, Lena and Bridget closer together and to bridge a gap forged by time.
3. It's not about the traveling pants anymore.
Screw those magical jeans. What started as a plot device in a thrift store became a symbol of female friendship and finding strength in those around you. The first film and book used the pants as a way to show the girls as the discovered confidence and self-worth. But the tone is grave this time around, and it works.
4. The sisterhood grew up with its readers.
Rather than pick up where she left off in "Forever In Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood," Brashares made the smart decision to jump ahead, enabling her characters to move forward in life (and love). The first novel was released in 2003, when the girls were sophomores in high school. By the time the fifth book came out eight years later, the young readers who fell in love with Tibby and co. were ready to move on with the characters. The series follows the rule of "Harry Potter," in that the themes and characters complicate as time passes. The Harry Potter we meet in "The Sorcerer's Stone" is clearly different than one who defeats Voldemort six books (and seven movies) later. That plays to readers'-- and J.K. Rowling's -- advantage.
5. Is "Sisterhood Everlasting" even YA?
These characters are nearly 30 when the book begins. Even though YA isn't specifically defined by age, its themes and characters resonate with a younger social demographic. Can you even classify the last book in the series as YA? Nah, not really. Does the label really matter? We hope not.
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