Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
The novel opens and closes with a first-person narrative by Carmen. Why
do you think the author selected this character to frame the story? If you
could change it, would you select another character, and if so, what would
he or she say? Or do you think Carmens is the best viewpoint to begin and
end the novel?
For some reason our lives were marked by summers. . . . Summer was the
time when our lives joined completely, when we all had our birthdays, when
really important things happened (p. 5). What is the significance of the
Sisterhoods first summer apart? Why is it so important that the four
friends have individual adventures? Do you think they would have remained
close if the Pants had not been a part of their lives?
Of the four girls, whom are you the most like? The most different from?
Epigraphs (short quotations) from a variety of sourcessong lyrics,
remarks by real-life personalities, fictitious sayings by the novels
charactersare used to separate sections of the book. Which one is your
favorite and why?
Carmens discovery of a new blond stepfamily comes as quite a shock. How
could her father have better handled this news? Would it have made a
difference to Carmen?
In the movie Its a Wonderful Life, George Bailey sees what the
world would have been like had he not been born. Author Ann Brashares has
said that the character of Bailey was inspired by this film. How would
Tibbys life have been different if she had not met Bailey?
Lena is described as quite beautiful. How do you think this affects her
friendships? Have you ever been friends with someone who is noticeably more
or less attractive than you are? How did it make you feel?
Bridget feels powerful as she pursues Eric, but her actions leave her
fragile and uncertain. Do you think that by the end of the story, Bridget is
able to take back some of her power? Why or why not? What role do you think
Bridgets friends will play in her recovery?
In the novel, the Pants take on a life of their own. Each of the girls
in turn feels loved and comforted by them, as if the Pants were a creature
or a person. Do you believe that the Pants are really looking out for the
girls? Or is what the girls sense a manifestation of their own emotions? Or
is it some combination of the two?
Each of the girls is very different from her friends and has widely
ranging talents: Lena is a painter, Tibby is a filmmaker, Bridget is an
athlete. But their talents dont define them so much as send them off in
different directions. Carmen is more of an enigma; what would you say her
talents are and where do they take her in the novel?
If you were given the Pants, what rule governing their use would be the
hardest for you to keep? Rule 10 is Remember: Pants = love. Love your pals.
Love yourself (p. 25). How is this rule observed by each member of the
Sisterhood in the story? How is it broken?
In the epilogue (p. 293), Carmen says, What happened in front of my
friends felt real. What happened to me by myself felt partly dreamed, partly
imagined, definitely shifted and warped by my own fears and wants. Have you
ever felt that way? How does it feel to see yourself reflected in other
The novels settings are variedBaja California, Greece, South Carolina,
and Maryland. By the end of the book, each of the girls has had a revelation
that has a lot to do with where she has been. If you could spend a summer in
one of these places, which would you choose? If you could spend a summer
anywhere in the world, where would you go? Would you want your friends with
you or would you rather travel solo?
What does Carmen mean when she says that she, Lena, Tibby, and Bridget
are the real Septembers (p. 7)? What is it about their friendship that
convinces Carmen they wont drift apart the way their mothers did?
Fast-forward ten years . . . do you think the Sisterhood will still be
inseparable? What are the bonds that will help their friendship endure? Will
the Pants still fit them? If not, will it matter?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.
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