I finished reading 3 Willows by Ann Brashares a few days back but only am getting to review it now. It was quite entertaining, I read the traveling pants series and this book reminds me a lot of them. It was refreshing though to learn about a new set of three girls and their issues. At times though I felt silly reading a book about 13-year olds, but on the other hand if it is good why not?
The book is about 3 girls: Jo, Polly, and Ama, who used to be friends, but for whatever reason, the life in middle school has taken them on separate paths, and they hang out with different crowds. The book explores their friendship as they each go their separate paths during the summer: Jo, who wants to be one of the popular girls, goes to her family’s beach house and becomes a busboy at a local restaurant. Polly decides she wants to become a model. And Ama, who is very studious, gets placed into a wilderness adventures program by the scholarship she receives. The book explores how these experiences change the girls and what they learn from them.
Again, like the previous book, this book is focused on characters and how they grow. The character development though is much more explicit than in My Sister’s keeper, since the book is written for a younger audience. Overall: entertaining, interesting, fun and a bit silly. But definitely worthy for a quick fun read. (The rest of the review will contain spoilers)
The audio book I was listening had an interview with the author at the end. I always listen to those because they provide interesting extra tid-bits that went into writing of the story. In one question Anne Brashares gets asked which of the three girls she identifies with most. I guessed Polly, I am not sure why but I guess most authors are imagine are shy artsy types. Ann’s response was interesting though: she said she identified a little bit with each girl, and wanted to be like Jo, courageous and daring, but she was in fact most like Ama: bookish and studious, with her nose always in a book.
I very much liked how she ended each girl’s story: Ama was still studious, but she now had a boyfriend which she would have never previously considered, and she embraced her experience. Polly decided that being a model was not for her, after she was told her teeth were crooked. She could have persevered, but instead she decides to get braces, but not in order to become a model. Jo rediscovers her friends, and realizes that it is better to have good friends than to be popular, because real friends understand without being told.
The character whose story I didn’t like much was Effie. That is not to say I found her completely unlikable. I felt sorry for her character and I felt that her story didn’t have an ending. In all the other traveling pants books she is always on the periphery as Lena’s sister, but wants to be included, dates a boy, who eventually goes back to Tibbie (I think). Same in this book: she didn’t do anything wrong, other than data a boy and assume he is still her boyfriend. It was wrong of her to shove Jo, but that was her only wrong-doing. I would have liked a better ending for her, other than being fired and boyfriend-less, but I guess there will be more books in this series, but somehow I get a feeling the author dislikes her too much to give her a good ending.
So I guess overall interesting plot, entertaining too: will be waiting for the next one!