February 17, 2013

Review: Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell

Summer and the City (The Carrie Diaries #2)
Author: Candace Bushnell
Release Date: April 26th, 2011
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Page Count: 409
Source: Borrowed from the Boston Public Library
Rating: ★★☆☆ 
Summer is a magical time in New York City and Carrie is in love with all of it—the crazy characters in her neighborhood, the vintage-clothing boutiques, the wild parties, and the glamorous man who has swept her off her feet. Best of all, she's finally in a real writing class, taking her first steps toward fulfilling her dream.

This sequel to The Carrie Diaries brings surprising revelations as Carrie learns to navigate her way around the Big Apple, going from being a country "sparrow"—as Samantha Jones dubs her—to the person she always wanted to be. But as it becomes increasingly difficult to reconcile her past with her future, Carrie realizes that making it in New York is much more complicated than she ever imagined.

With her signature wit and sparkling humor, Candace Bushnell reveals the irresistible story of how Carrie met Samantha and Miranda, and what turned a small-town girl into one of New York City's most unforgettable icons, Carrie Bradshaw.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

The other day I reviewed The Carrie Diaries and even though I didn't like it so much, I picked up Summer and the City within a day. Why, you ask? Because I needed to know how Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte enter Carrie's life. As such, Summer and the City became a vital, and fairly trashy, read.

Let's break this down:

I think my biggest problem with this book is one that I had with The Carrie Diaries. I really just feel like this is watered down adult fiction. There's sex and drinking and drugs but it's not as graphic as it would be. It just didn't feel like teens doing all this stuff, it felt like little adult doing it. Does that sound weird? I don't know.

In any case, I picked up this book to get to know Samantha and Miranda, really, and I wasn't disappointed. The two of them are absolutely brilliant in this installation of the series. In fact, I pretty much finished the book for Miranda.

And where was Carrie, you might ask, given how much we all know I love her? Well, she kind of annoyed me the whole book. It wasn't my annoyance at her obsession with Bernard (which was annoying) or even the way she somehow behaved like a giant baby the whole book (which she did). It was more about how, yet again, nothing really happens in this book.

Basically, Carrie goes to Manhattan for this writing program, hardly ever goes to class, goes to a bunch of parties, gets drunk a lot, contemplates having sex, pines over boys and writes a bad play. It's typical Manhattan decadence and nothing really happens. We don't learn anything about Carrie, really, aside from how she met Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte, nor does her character seem to change at all. It's depressing and kind of boring.

So really, all the rating I give this book is for Miranda. She's wonderful. And for all that we don't learn from Carrie in this book, we absolutely do learn from Miranda. And yeah, I like Miranda in Sex and the City, but she is by no means my favorite (I <3 me some Carrie for sure), so it was weird to me that this whole book is only salvageable on her account.

And I guess I should mention some of the other characters too. Maggie's annoying, Walt's adorable, Carrie's family is still kind of an under-developed footnote, Ryan's a jerk, Capote's the cutest, L'il makes my heart break just a little bit and Bernard and all the rest of Manhattan's high society can shove it, for all I care. But really, my quick, halfhearted evaluation of all of these characters represents how underdeveloped they are in the book. Maybe it's because there are so many characters' story line to follow or maybe because none of them are particularly important to the story line (except maybe Bernard and Capote, except, really, any two guys would have serve the same purpose as they did. Neither seem to have their own merit), but not a single one of them is all that compelling. As in, usually when I finish a GOOD BOOK, I kind of hope one or two of the secondary characters gets a spin-off book. But this time, I just don't care. I mean, I feel for Walt and L'il, but I don't need to hear from them ever again, y'know?

The long and short of it?

Plot: Booooring. Except for Samantha and Miranda.
World Building: Still looks like the 80s to me.
Character Development: Blah. I just feel all kinds of blah towards everyone. EXCEPT SAMANTHA AND MIRANDA. More of them two, please.
Prose: As flat as the first one.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Just like with The Carrie Diaries, if you guys love Sex and the City and want a little context, grab a copy from the library. If not? Skip it.

Do you love Sex and the City enough to read this one? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. I'm glad that you liked Samantha and Miranda in this one! (P.S. What happened to Charlotte?) It makes me sad that it still doesn't seem like this is a series worth pursuing, especially as there was SO MUCH potential.

    1. Charlotte pops up at the end, but she's the last of the fantastic four to join. And yeah, so much potential, but not YA potential. Which is silly.


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