USA Today Reviews Candace Bushnell's Summer and the City

April 26th, 2011

USA Today

Carrie steps off bus, into Summer and the City

Sex and the City, an iconic guilty pleasure, is refreshed and rejuvenated in rollicking fashion in Summer and the City, Candace Bushnell’s second young-adult novel about the New York City adventures of a teenage Carrie Bradshaw.

By Carol Memmott, USA TODAY
April 26, 2011
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Last summer, The Carrie Diaries, Bushnell’s debut novel for teens and anyone who yearns to feel like one, whisked readers back to the ’80s and Carrie’s senior year at a suburban Connecticut high school.

In the final pages, Carrie is poised to spend the summer before college taking writing classes in Manhattan.

She steps off the bus in the Port Authority, and pow! She gets mugged.

Her lifeline: the cousin of her best friend from high school.

That cousin, who comes to Carrie’s rescue, is none other than sexy Samantha Jones. In Summer and the City, the 17-year-old Carrie seeks the slightly older Samantha’s advice on romance and work, and falls in love with boys, men, parties, clothes and, most of all, New York. She roams its vintage-clothing stores, restaurants, bookstores and theaters.

Carrie’s Manhattan days of melodrama and mayhem are summed up during a visit to the Shubert Theatre as she stands on the stage where Katharine Hepburn performed in The Philadelphia Story in 1939.
About the book

Summer and the City:
A Carrie Diaries Novel
By Candace Bushnell
Balzer + Bray, 409 pp., $18.99

She flings out her arms and shouts, “Hello, New York!” It’s scenes like this that make the novel scrumptious and fabulously frenetic.

Carrie, like her older self played by Sarah Jessica Parker in the HBO series, searches for true love (first with an older man), success as a writer (she tries her hand as a playwright) and genuine friendships (not everyone has your best interests at heart) without undermining her pride or dignity.

Samantha, who’s in her mid-20s, is also learning lessons about men, work and the importance of being true to yourself.

And then there’s the young Miranda Hobbes, her hair dyed the same shade of red as Andy Warhol’s soup cans, whom Carrie meets in front of Saks, where Miranda is protesting pornography. She, too, learns lessons about sex, feminism and personal authenticity.

If ever a book resounded with positive messages for young people, it’s this one.

All too soon, Carrie’s summer in the city is over. She’s heading to her freshman year at Brown when she makes a decision that changes her life forever. And the young woman she meets in the book’s final pages … can you guess who it is? Her presence just begs for another novel.