17-year-old Carrie Bradshaw has finally arrived in New York, the city of her dreams --- and she feels like an entirely different person. After all, she is now in the true center of the universe. But Carrie's clock is ticking. She has just 60 days to figure out how she can manage to remain in what should be her forever home instead of going off to college at Brown University, as her father expects her to do.
After suffering a stolen purse upon her arrival, Carrie had called the cousin of a friend from Castlebury. The New York cousin is Samantha Jones, who hauls wide-eyed Carrie off to quite the introduction to the big city in the form of a wild all-night party. When Carrie finally does arrive at her own "apartment," she's appalled to see the size of her little cubicle and how weird her new landlady acts.
At least her friend George from Castlebury is in the city, too. George has a summer job at the New York Times. But when Carrie meets with him, he gives her bad news. He's being sent away to Washington D.C., where he can do some "real reporting." This leaves Carrie feeling both deserted and strangely liberated since she'd expected George to acclimate her to the big city as they'd planned. George does give her advice before he leaves, telling her to go to her writing class, work hard --- and avoid crazy people (like that's going to happen!)
The next morning, a stranger calls Carrie, announcing she discovered her stolen bag in a garbage can. The two agree to meet in front of Saks so Carrie can retrieve it. Carrie is a bit taken aback when the stranger turns out to be an outspoken young woman with short, dyed red hair who is protesting porn. Carrie doesn't get her name, but (not so unexpectedly, but quite satisfyingly for fans of the TV series) Miranda Hobbes has not vanished forever from Carrie's life.
Carrie freely admits that her curiosity frequently trumps her better judgment. That's why she agrees to visit a man she encountered at her very first New York City party. This new friend/crush is the handsome, older Bernard Singer, who happens to be a famous playwright. Their relationship is soon convoluted, complicated by Carrie's recent ambition to also write a play.
This is another highly satisfying addition to the Carrie Bradshaw backstory. As we might expect, the plot centers on guys and romance, writing and ambition, plus the strong friendships Carrie is genius at (along with her unique and colorful fashion sense). These might be predictable subjects for a Carrie Bradshaw book, but they are somehow handled freshly, making for yet another purely enjoyable and gripping read. Meeting up with the young versions of Samantha and Miranda underscores the knack Candace Bushnell has for creating endearing characters true to their essences; they seem like flesh-and-blood people. Readers will surely relate to Carrie's sympathetic but sassy commentary on New York City in the '80s.