Polly, Jo, and Ama, friends since elementary school, are drifting their separate ways during the summer before they enter high school. Polly is set on exploring the possibility of becoming a model. Jo gets a job as a busgirl near her beach house and stumbles across a captivating older boy. Ama hoped to get into an academic program but instead is thrust into a wilderness camping trip where hair products are forbidden.
Although the three girls have a history that began with the planting of three small willow trees back in the third grade, in many ways the friendship has changed and stretched out since then. Now, at the end of junior high, they begin to weigh their differences and question the connections that had once held them together.
Throughout the book, readers follow each of the girls through one summer (similar to the format of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books). Polly, Jo, and Ama are each growing into who they are while also dealing with new challenges that come their way. Polly feels like her friends have left her behind, and even her own mother seems distant and undependable. Jo’s parents have decided to try a trial separation, and Jo has decided to try a more thrilling but perhaps overwhelming life of popularity and romance. Meanwhile, Ama is forced into the great outdoors with a heavy backpack, boots that give her blisters, and overly flirtacious teenagers. These girls try their best to deal and move on, but they can’t help wonder if their old friends might still be needed.
3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows, by Ann Brashares, author of the bestselling Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, is a recommendable book for anyone interested in the themes of family and friendship and the ways in which they are tested, altered, and refined. Fans of the first Sisterhood series will enjoy the subtle character connections Brashares weaves between the books. But even as a solo act, this story resonates with real meaning.
“This warm and wise story is about how friendships — like willow trees — sprout and grow and change, yet the strong ones never really die” (Donna Volkenannt, TeenReads.com).
Check out the 3 Willows website for an excerpt of the book, video trailer, a video message from the author, and more.