Friday, July 9, 2010

Review of The Carrie Diaries

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
Pages: 400
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: April 27, 2010
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Before Carrie Bradshaw hit the big time in the City, she was a regular girl growing up in the suburbs of Connecticut. How did she turn into one of the most-read social observers of our generation?  The Carrie Diaries opens up in Carrie's senior year of high school. She and her best friends -- Walt, Lali, Maggie, and the Mouse -- are inseparable, amid the sea of Jens, Jocks and Jets. And then Sebastian Kydd comes into the picture. Sebastian is a bad boy-older, intriguing, and unpredictable. Carrie falls into the relationship that she was always supposed to have in high school-until a friend's betrayal makes her question everything. With her high school days coming to a close, Carrie will realize it's finally time to go after everything she ever wanted.  Rabid fans of Sex and the City will love seeing Carrie Bradshaw evolve from a regular girl into a sharp, insightful writer. They'll learn about her family background -- how she found her writing voice, and the indelible impression her early friendships and relationships left on her. We'll see what brings Carrie to her beloved New York City, where the next Carrie Diaries book will take place."

Carrie Bradshaw is one of my favorite characters of all time.  There was a point in my life where I lived for HBO's Sex and the City and I can still quote many funny lines verbatim.  When I saw that Bushnell was going to be writing a prequel to SATC, I thought to myself, "Ahhh! Yes! This is going to be great!"  Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed.  Candace Bushnell's debut young adult novel, The Carrie Diaries, is a delightful read for not only fans of the show, but also fans of young adult literature as this story is truly a coming-of-age story at its best.

We meet Carrie as a high school senior navigating her way through friendships, possible boyfriends, swim practice, wanting to become a writer, and trying to get into Brown University. We meet her group of friends, her archenemy, her elusive boyfriend, her sisters, and her dad.  We even figure out why she has such an affinity for gay men.  We also witness why she may have relationship issues later on in SATC.  Additionally, it even touches on her radical fashion sense, which she tries out in high school.  What I liked most about this book is that Carrie is learning what it takes to be a writer and I enjoyed watching her evolve.  For any fan of SATC, it was pretty great to get Carrie's backstory since they never really cover it in the show.  Lastly, one of my favorite parts of this novel was the ending.  Carrie finally makes it to NYC and there's mention of a SATC regular, which I thought was brilliant.  

Carrie learns about life in this novel and she comes out with some true Carrie-isms.  Granted they aren't as powerful as some of the ones from the TV show, but they are pretty profound for a high school student.  I'll share a few that stood out for me.
"What if I'm a princess on another planet?  And no one on this planet knows it?"  That question still blows me away. I mean, isn't it the truth?  Whoever we are here, we might be princesses somewhere else.  Or writers.  Or scientists.  Or presidents.  Or whatever the hell we want to be that everyone says we can't." (page 9)
"I have this theory: If you forgive someone, they can't hurt you anymore."  (page 384)

My only issue with this novel is the fact that the Carrie from the show and Carrie from this novel didn't always mesh.  For example, in the novel Carrie starts cooking from the Julia Child cookbook.  Ummm, the Carrie in SATC uses her oven for STORAGE.  Also, she seems pretty close to her dad and her sisters in this book, but in the TV show, they aren't ever referenced.  I also thought that Carrie's dad walked out on her mom, but in the book, Carrie's mom died.  The inconsistencies sort of annoyed me, but I didn't get hung up on them.  And if you are wondering how a book about Carrie Bradshaw could be teen appropriate, Bushnell somehow pulls it off for high school students.   This isn't the same Carrie in SATC; this is definitely a younger more innocent version of Carrie--she is still trying to find her way.

To be honest with you, I am not a big fan of Candace Bushnell's writing style. I really didn't enjoy Trading Up, Lipstick Jungle or One 5th Avenue.  I thought they were mediocre; however, she has hit it out of the ball park with The Carrie Diaries. I think Bushnell has found her place in young adult literature and perhaps she realizes it as well, because she has signed on to write book two, which will come out next summer.  Based on how The Carrie Diaries ended, I will definitely be reading the second installment.  

*Candace Bushnell talks about The Carrie Diaries:


  1. Definitely want to get my hands on this one! Glad you enjoyed it. I came into SATC late in the game -- like, the final season -- but have enjoyed the shows I've seen and the movies! I'd love to get a glimpse at teen Carrie, and I love that cover, too.

  2. Oh, I've been reading mixed reviews of this book and I can say I was never really attracted to this kind of book. I don't know, you know? Hahaha. But your review is pretty much good and I enjoyed reading your opinion. Thank you!

  3. Cool! Sounds like I would relate more to book Carrie than TV show Carrie :) Great review!

  4. Looooved The Carrie Diaries! Carrie Bradshaw is my favorite. I'm not a huge Candace Bushnell fan either, but what SATC fan could pass this one up?

  5. Very glad I read your review as I was hoping this would be a good book,but wasn't sure because I read another review that was not complimentary. Always been a fan SATC so I think I will check this out from the library. Thanks

  6. I definitely think this book is not for me. I never really watched the TV show and if you say you didn't enjoy the style of writing, I'm convinced that I won't too. Another great review!

  7. It's weird when a TV show is so popular and yet I never watch it. That's what happened to me while SATC was such a hit. Loved the movie, though. I've dabbled in Candace's adult books and I thought they were pretty entertaining. Still on the fence about The Carrie Diaries, but I'm glad to see that you really enjoyed it!

  8. So going to get a copy of this book. I was a huge fan of the tvshow and I loved the characters. They are fun! Thanks for your honest opinion about the book, I hope I will like it.

  9. Totally agree with you that Bushnell may have found her niche in YA books. Her adult books have never worked for me either, but I loved this one. Can't wait for the next installment!

    Great review!

  10. Great review! I really enjoyed reading about Carrie's not so fabulous life growing up in a small town. Plus it was also great to finally get a glimpse into her backstory, which was barely touched upon in the TV series and movies. I recommend this book to teens and adults alike!

  11. What an awesome review! Here's mine if you don't mind:

    Thanks and have a nice day!


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