My 2 cents:
Did you read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series? Either way, you will love this newest novel by Ann Brashares, which is kinda, sorta an offshoot of “The Sisterhood.” Hence, the fitting name of Brashares' book, “3 willows.” Ama, Jo and Polly take turns telling the story is first-person narratives, beginning with the last day of eighth grade. In “Traveling Pants” tradition, this novel unfolds over a summer, in fact, the all-important, fork-in-the-road summer between middle school and high school. The three girls are connected by a five-year-old twist and turn-y friendship, and by the willow trees they planted together in a park near their elementary school.
Ama (p.8): “We met on the first day of third grade, because of all the 132 kids in our grade, we were the three who didn't get picked up … we didn't talk to each other at first. I was embarrassed and scared and I didn't want to show it … that was the day they gave out the little willow tree cuttings in plastic pots in our science class … “
Facts and quirky quotes are interspersed throughout the book like this one:
“The smallest sprout shows there is really no death.”
That one's by Walt Whitman in “Song of Myself.”
And this one: “The bark of the willow contains salicylic acid, the source of aspirin, and has relieved fever and suffering for thousands of years. It also gets rid of warts.”
Besides the quotes and lots of interesting sketches of willow leaves, there are also fast and furious text messages, e-mails and letters between Ama, Polly and Jo. About everything from rappelling and Noah (the guy Ama meets at her “Wild Adventures” summer scholarship program, to Polly's babysitting and her plan to become a teen model, to Jo's island summer living with her dad, busting tables at the Surfside. Chances are good you'll recognize yourself or someone you know in one of the novel's characters. If not, you'll still be a little sad when you reach the end and read the very last sage “willow” quote.
LENGTH: 318 pages
WORTH YOUR TIME? Yes! Times Three!