The nominated title that I'm almost finished (number 8 of 20) is Forever in Blue. The Traveling Pants end up in Turkey, Vermont, Providence, RI, New York and wherever it is that those girls come from in suburban Washington. Bridget has another ill-advised romance with an older man, Tibby decides to dump the faithful Brian after they have sex for the first time, Lena manages to forget Kostas and pose in the nude (this [the nude posing, not Lena posing] has arisen twice in a row now, what's with that?), and Carmen discovers hidden artistic talents, but can't seem to shake her feelings of worthlessness.
Whatever resonating chord that Ann Brashares played when she first wrote about these charmed, interesting girls is still going strong now that they are in college. Their adventures -- and those of the Pants -- are completely enjoyable. The girls have grown up before our eyes and they remain our best friends, as well as each others'. Even I -- ancient though I am -- think about my best girl gang while listening in.
And (while there is no comparing the two novels) listening to Angela Goethals engage her listener with character voices, varied pacing and volume, humor, sadness, and affection for the story was a gale of fresh air after Melanie Martinez' Voices. Yes, the story is pretty predictable, which is why listening is pure pleasure. It's a slight enough fillip on the book to keep it interesting to those of us who might be a little old for these stories. I'm happy to slip another disk into the CD player, eager to finish it up ... yet at the same time, I'll be sorry to say goodbye to those girls.
I was most definitely not sorry to see Memer, Gry and Orrec head off into the sunset in Voices. They couldn't leave fast enough!