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Summer and the City, By Candace Bushnell


Carrie Bradshaw, for many Sex and the City fans, is now indistinguishable from Sarah Jessica Parker, so overpowering is the success of the HBO series. For that reason, an 18-year-old Carrie, in this prequel, is hard to imagine.

We meet her as she arrives in New York to attend writing classes at the New School, whereupon she meets the rest of the "girls": first Samantha (who is engaged), then Miranda (a strident feminist picketing outside Saks) and finally Charlotte on the final page.

While it is aimed as a teen read, it veers into SATC mode at times, and despite its bubble and energy, it has a touch of the interminable franchise.