Book Review: The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell

Carrie Bradshaw. If you know the name, then you know the hit HBO series, Sex and the City; a show I began to love in high school, and still do, even though it ended years ago. Now, you can read what Carrie was like before she moved to the Big Apple. The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell features Carrie’s life in Connecticut, in a small farming town.

Carrie, an aspiring writer, is a senior who attends Castlebury High with her best friends: Walt, “The Mouse,” Lali, and Maggie. Also in attendance are the two Jens and Donna LaDonna, the popular girls. This year, there’s a new guy in town, Sebastian. Everyone who’s anyone wants to date Sebastian, but Carrie has a secret, she has met Sebastian before, through her mother. Her mother and his morther went to school together and Carrie met him once at their house. Sebastian recognizes Carrie too, but just can’t remember why. It’s a race to see who will date Sebastian first, even though everyone thinks Donna LaDonna will win.

Carrie and her friends spend senior year going to parties, crying, laughing, and pretending that college isn’t as close as it actually is. The Mouse is the smart one of the bunch who plans on going to Yale, Walt is the guy all girls want to be friends with, Maggie is a drama queen, and Lali is Carrie’s oldest and closest friend. Carrie is the oldest of three girls; her mother passed away a few years ago, leaving their father to raise them alone.

Carrie begins to fall for Sebastian shortly after the start of the school year, and he, in return, begins to fall for her. The only problem is, Sebastian is not a one girl kind of guy. Then there’s George, Carries new friend from Brown, the college she plans on attending after high school. Perfect George is every father’s dream of a boyfriend, except Carrie doesn’t like him in that way. Carrie learns that growing up isn’t always about getting what you want, but getting what you need. She realizes that all you need during your last year of high school are good friends and a strong drink.

I hated the first chapter of this book. I thought, “Oh great, another YA novel about high school, with bad writing.” But once the first chapter ended, I realized it is a YA Sex and the City, except it is more like Sex and the Suburbs. These kids are nuts, but hilarious. I really enjoyed reading about the crazy adventures of Carrie and her friends. Carrie and her friends don’t care about if they are popular or if they have the coolest clothes, all they care about is having a good time and making the most out of their senior year.

What shocked me about this novel was how much drinking went on in high school. I thought to myself, “Did kids actually drink that much when I was in high school?” I certainly didn’t. I was astounded by how these kids got into bars, ordered drinks, and chain smoked like it was their job. But then again, the Carrie Bradshaw we all know and love from TV drinks like a fish and smokes like a camel. I guess she had to start somewhere, and that somewhere is high school.

The Carrie Diaries touches on a lot of typical high school subjects: sexuality, drinking, drugs, promiscuity, and bad drivers. All the stuff you learn about in health class rolled into one page-turning book. Carrie’s writing aspirations are inspiring, she knows what she wants and even though she hasn’t written anything important until her senior year, she knows she wants to be a writer. Reminds me of my senior year, and my dreams of becoming a writer; the dream is still out there, waiting for me to make it happen.

The last line of the book is what makes it an awesome read. I wish I could say more, but I don’t want to spoil it. For a big Sex and the City fan, the ending is spectacular.

I started watching The Carrie Diaries on the CW in January during its first season. I quickly became addicted to it and liked to describe it to people as a “cute show.” The show and the book are comparable but also different. In the show, Carrie only has three best friends. Maggie and Lali’s book characters are merged into one TV show character, which is Maggie. Carrie has a fashion internship in the TV show and in the book, she writes for the newspaper at school. In the show, Carrie has one sister, and in the book she has two. Carrie likes to swim on the show, but she is on the diving team in the book. The show doesn’t glamorize drinking as much as the book does, and the book doesn’t focus on Carrie’s dad as much as the show does. The second season of The Carrie Diaries starts on October 25, 2013. In the meantime, I am going to read Summer in the City, the sequel to The Carrie Diaries.


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