Books that close series must be terrifying to write. I've come to that conclusion in the past, because I rarely read series anymore. But Ann Brashares took it on and did it well, surprisingly and seriously well. I'm sure there are plenty of nay-sayers, but I'm not one of them. Perhaps the story is a little unrealistic, perhaps overly imagined, yet I think that is exactly what made the series so endearing to my teenage heart when I first picked up The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in high school. I've sympathized with the characters from the very beginning and felt a startling closeness to Lena, one of the four protagonists. I lived vicariously through the characters more than I care to admit. My real high school life consisted of a lot of nothing happening--something for which I'm actually glad--and the plots, contrived or not, of books filled in a lot of interestingness that my imagination craved. Perhaps I could have filled my time with more literary pursuits (and I did, to an extent), but I remember connecting well to these novels.
In Sisterhood Everlasting (overstated title aside), I found again the reason I connected to the characters. They feel real; since they are developed over the course of five novels, which I've read over six or so years, I feel I've gotten to know them. The thoughts that Brashares gives to Lena aren't too far from my own on occasion. The end is an uncontrived embodiment of bittersweet. I won't make any apologies for reading this book and praising it, regardless of the chick lit category I'm sure it's being shoved into thoroughly. If you haven't read the rest of the series, you probably won't fully understand what's going on and you won't enjoy the novel. But if you have and you love the characters as much as I do, prepare to read with a very full heart and a few tears.