They became the symbol of what being friends is truly about. Lena Kaligaris, Tabitha Rollins, Bridget Vreeland and Carmen Lowell are the lead characters in the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" series by Ann Brashares and also the two movies based on these books. In the first four books, the girls start out as high school sophomores and become freshmen at different colleges. Over the course of four summers, they are connected by a "magic" pair of pants.

Just released in 2011, the fifth and final book in this series, "Sisterhood Everlasting," wraps up the story of the four friends. Brashares jumps into the future of the four women, now closing in on age 30. Separated and out of contact, the women slowly start to drift apart from one another until Tabitha, also nicknamed Tibby, mysteriously sends the women airplane tickets to reunite in Greece.

However, tragedy strikes one of the women. As the remaining women's lives spiral out of control, they soon form questions about the life their fallen "sister." As they each try to find the answers to their tough questions, they find themselves questioning their own lives -- the paths they took and the ones they left behind. They face their problems head on and try to find the answers to these questions that they never imagined they would ask. Their lives are thrown into turmoil, but they discover who they are through their separate journeys of self-discovery and find the answers to their searching questions. They discover a future they had never predicted could exist that forces them to make a decision that changes them and their sisterhood forever.

Brashares skillfully tells the tales of these women from their point of view and is able to create mystery. She saves the personalities of the women despite the fact that they have changed drastically from their college days. The author is also able to pull off a tough feat: telling the stories of three separate girls, but connecting them in a way that brings them together with a rhythm and grace that gives the book incomparable character and the ability to lead you into a completely new world.

"Sisterhood Everlasting" is sure to keep you up until the last page is read and overtake your thoughts long after the story has ended.

Rachel Wieclaw is a sophomore at North Tonawanda High School.


"Sisterhood Everlasting"

By Ann Brashares

368 pages, $25

Random House