This book has reinforced why Candace Bushnell is one of my favorite authors. Her writing is unique and refreshing, and her characters I can just swear are real, and that I'll bump into them if I ever go back to New York. I also love how she crafts the story, but doesn't push fake dialogue or unnecessary scenes on the reader so that it rings untrue - it is just like peeking into the lives of people for a moment, in this case, Carrie Bradshaw's summer after high school in New York City.
Carrie goes to New York in the late 1980's to attend the New School - a school for writers to hone their craft. Even though she is supposed to attend Brown in the fall, she tries to plot how she can stay in New York; once there, she realizes she is home. Helped along by a colourful cast of characters (most notably Samantha and Miranda) Carrie grows and defines herself, and what she wants to be, during this Summer in the City. I've noticed that not all of the little details from the Sex and the City t.v. series are the same (e.g. when/where Carrie loses her virginity; that she can actually cook and cook well in the novel version) but it doesn't matter, as this is Bushnell's vision and interpretation and it will probably be slightly different than how it was represented in the t.v. show.
It helps to have read the previous book, The Carrie Diaries, before this one, but it isn't absolutely necessary. Either way, read together they enhance each other, but can also stand on their own. I'm actually hoping for a third installment of this series, but wherever Bushnell decides to go next, I'll probably follow her. I don't know why I don't actually buy more of her books right away; I always seem to get them out of the library first, read them, love them and then buy them for my keeper shelf. However, there ain't much room on my shelves anymore, as anyone who knows me knows I have WAY too many books, so maybe the library is still a good idea. I've already got some more books on hold there that I'll pick up this week.