Going into it, I expected some silly, shallow book about four teenage girls falling in love over one summer, but instead this book focused on the exploration of family dysfunction, death, and the bonds of friendship. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is not a romance, although there are romantic elements of varying degrees in three of the girl's stories. It was refreshing to find the romance taking a backseat to other important issues in a contemporary young adult novel. The four main characters, as well as many of the side characters, were fleshed out and very distinct from one another. I found myself coming to care about all of them.
Two things kept this from being a five star read. One was the premise. The idea of magical jeans that fit all four girls perfectly was a bit too silly for me, and I feel that the story could have stood on its own without it. The pants weren't necessary or even integral to the plot. The other reason for the missing star was the writing. I thought it was a bit clunky with adverbs and adjectives galore, and excessive use of dialogue tags when they weren't really needed. It was distracting enough to take me out of the story at times. Otherwise, this was a fantastic read, and I will certainly be reading the sequels.