I work at a residential summer camp where cabin counselors read campers to sleep each night, no matter what age they are or whether they are at camp or on an overnight at a nearby campsite.
The other night, I substitute-covered a cabin of teenage girls and got to read them to sleep. They were reading The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, one of my favorite YA really-girly-in-a-healthy-and-awesome-way books. Read-aloud always brings me back to fourth grade, when we all sat or lay on the rug while Mrs. Petersen read Allergic to my Family and I hung on every word and GROANED when she refused to continue past the end-of-chapter cliffhanger.
As I read to the cabin, the girls asked clarifying questions, gasped, laughed and then…snoring. What a perfect way to get them to sleep without the too-late giggles and “SHHHH”s, and get some literacy/comprehension/context clues in there, guerilla-style.
I kept reading to myself after they fell asleep, and thank God no one was awake (*spoilers* here in a bit so stop here if you haven’t read it!) because I was definitely crying. By myself. For these characters. Carmen tearfully asking her dad why she and Mom weren’t good enough? Tibby working up the courage to visit her dying friend? Brashares does it all so well, so long as you agree that sniveling-in-the-armchair-with-my-headlamp-and-no-Kleenex-while-campers-snore to be a good thing.
If you haven’t read Sisterhood…go. Seriously. It’s so worth it.