The second installment of the Traveling Pants saga has the girls dragging the pants out of storage in time to weave its magic for the second summer. This year finds the girls approaching maturity, and dealing with all the hardships that go with it. Each of the four girls has problems of her own, and this time it's Bridget who has the easiest time.
After her bad experience the year before, Bridget sets off to Alabama to bring closure to the mystery that was her mother. Traveling incognito, she revisits the place where she grew up, and seeks out her grandmother hoping to put the past to rest. There she rediscovers herself, while the pants sit by approvingly.
Carmen is dealing with the fact that her mother is dating again. A younger man with no obvious defects has brought a youthful spring to her mother's step, and a social schedule that leaves Carmen in the cold sometimes. Can the magic of the pants work for them both and conjure up a happy ending?
Tibby is trying to fit in with the other students in her film class. She faces the age-old dilemma of new friends vs. old, of being cool vs. being kind, while the shadow of the passing of her young friend Bailey hovers nearby. Ashamed by her actions and behavior, the pants help her keep it together, but is it too late to make things right?
Lena has the darkest clouds to face, having lost and found again the one person she has ever loved, only to lose herself in a maelstrom of emotion. She needs all the magic of the pants, the support of her friends and a heart to heart talk with her mother in order to find the silver lining.
The author touches on many aspects of growing up, in a simple style that young adults can relate to. The middle part of the book drags just a little as the stubborn demons refuse to be vanquished, but ends brilliantly, and by the last few chapters you'll find you can't put it down. A solid four stars, plus half a star for the tears you'll shed for the characters.