Study Guide

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

By Brashares, Ann

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Introduction

"Based on a true story."

If you've heard it once, you've heard it a zillion times—but how many of those zillion times is that true story about a bunch of girls sharing a pair of jeans?

Yeah, we didn't think so.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2001) is a book about four best friends who are separated for the summer, and, worried about being apart, form an exclusive club based around—yep—a favorite pair of pants.

Every club has rules, and here are a few that the Sisterhood agrees upon: each girl must wear the Pants, write a special memory in the Pants, and then pass them along. The point? If they can't be there for each other physically, the Pants will be there instead, helping them stay in touch as they adventure all over the place.

Brashares's first piece of fiction was a hit right out of the gate—The Sisterhood put her on the map as a writer. The Sisterhood does for 21st century teens what Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye did for them in the 1950s—it gives them a voice.

A New York Times bestseller, The Sisterhood was so wildly successful that readers wanted not one, not two, but three more novels (four, if you count the very last novel that takes place ten years later). But if you still want more after you've read the entire series, 3 Willows (2009)  is a Sisterhood spin-off.

Yup—people just can't seem to get enough of this stuff.

What is The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants About and Why Should I Care?

We're not perfect.

There. We said it.

But society tells us we should be, and to continue our confessional, sometimes we get pretty sick of it. Wouldn't it be nice to look at magazine, watch a movie, or read a book without feeling pressure to live up to unrealistic expectations? We sure think so.

And that's part of what's so great about The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants—the characters seem like real people, imperfections and all. We're talking big butts, flaring tempers, moodiness, and more, and as the girls in this book make some really stupid mistakes, it's pretty refreshing to read about such human characters.

Plus, no matter how hard things get for the girls, the Pants are always there to remind them that there are people out there in the world who love them, just the way they are. Cheesy? Yes. But we're okay with it. This is a story about how human we all are, about the fact that everyone's got some ugly bits to them—and that this doesn't make them unlovable.

So put on your most favorite pair of jeans, Shmoopsters, and get ready to feel good.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Resources


Ann Brashares's Website
Check out Sisterhood's author and other great books she's been working on.

Ann Brashares on Facebook
Want Ann Brashares to become part of your Sisterhood? Request her as a friend. 

Movie or TV Productions

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants
With a book this popular, you just knew there's got to be a movie—and one was released in 2005.

Articles and Interviews

Brashares Discusses Sisterhood
This is an article about Brashares venturing into fiction. 

Questions and Answers with Brashares
Publishers Weekly interviews Brashares about her Sisterhood success.


Sisterhood Movie Styles
Check out the preview for the movie version of this book. It's pretty clear they took some liberties with the text just from these few minutes of footage.


The Sisterhood Audiobook
For you auditory learners, here's a link to the audio book.


Ever Seen an Olive Grove?
Here's a picture of one in Greece.

Bridget's Sleeping Spot
Life is good at sunset on the beach in Baja California.

Can You Imagine Lena and Kostos's First Kiss?
Imagine no longer—here's a snapshot of the movie scene. Is it how you imagined?