The way we come about my newest review, “Three Willows”, by Ann Brashars, the author of The Sisterhood of the Ttraveling Pants fame, is an interesting story. I found “Willows”, staring at me from atop a high shelf in my school library. I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that a whole TON of interesting books can be found in the most unattainable places, such as the highest level of a shelf, miserably out of my reach.
You might be asking how I got it down. To that, I would say, understanding, of course, that this little tidbit will stay between you and me, that I climbed up the “staff only” ladder that I saw nearby… Shhhhhh. And for my “against-school-policy” efforts, we have another marvelous find to go on the keeper shelf.
Ama, Polly and Jo, the three main characters of Three Willows, coincidentally, also have an interesting story. On the first day of third grade all three of their parents were very late. Jo, being the adventurous gal of the three, proposes that they fly the coop (or the math tutor room) to walk home themselves. All agree and are walking home when just as they are nearing the 7 Eleven, it starts to rain. Being third graders, they decide to stop in for blue slushies and Butterfingers candy bars, using money that Jo finds in her back pack. After they are done eating they finish the walk to their houses never realizing that they have just begun the best of friendships.
Their friendship goes on unperturbed until the summer before high school, where we meet up with the friends again. Jo suddenly becomes a popular girl, and Ama becomes a know it all with no time for anything but learning and Polly seems to be the same artsy, fun, cutoff-Gap-jean-wearing whimsical girl that she has always been.
Ama’s family is originally from Ghana but moved to America to improve Ama’s older sister Esi’s chance of going to a good college. Esi immediately thrived and skipped two grade levels. Ama relentlessly studies to prove that she too is smart and as a result, gets accepted to an elite summer camp, Andover, the same place that one of her other friends applied to.
When Ama gets her letter of acceptance however, instead of saying Andover, it says Wild Adventures, a hiking and outdoors camp. Ama is afraid of bugs, hates heights, and has hair that does NOT respond well to humid air. Ama is so grade obsessed though that she is prepared to rough it out.
Jo and her mother’s summer is supposed to be nothing but relaxing as they stay at their beach house for the vacation , but her parent’s separation, a mean girl at work, a treacherous friend that only survives on horrible gossip about Jo, creates an entirely different mood. It is turning into a summer that is anything but relaxing. When Jo meets Zach, a very handsome boy, on a bus back to her beach house, things crash down very quickly.
Polly’s Grandmother was a model. Polly suddenly has a major idea! Maybe she could be a model to! She immediately signs herself up for a modeling camp. She goes on a model diet, which is a synonym for being an anorexic. About halfway through the summer Polly goes to visit Jo at her beach house to tell her the news. Jo’s friends are horrified by Polly’s little girl whimsicality. One day, early in the morning, one of Jo’s friends asks Jo why Polly is even at the beach house as she clearly doesn’t fit in. Jo says that she wishes that Polly would leave. Polly overhears everything and dashes out of beach house and catches the next bus home. Polly then applies for a major modeling showcase.
Will Polly get into the showcase? Will Ama survive the summer at outdoor adventure camp? Will Jo maintain her popular mean girl façade? To find out I guess you’ll just have to read Three Willows, by Ann Brashares.
Because they said so (what your parents would say): Nothing horrible really, but some realistic addressing of issues… kissing, mentions of some stronger stuff, alcoholism, and eating disorders, but nothing your average 12-13 year old hasn’t heard of and would be unable to handle.