The Carrie Diaries

Common Sense Media says

Sex and the City prequel is OK for mature teens.

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

This may be a summer beach book, but it IS reading, and may lead to some good discussions among girlfriends -- or even mother and daughters -- over questions such as what should you expect a high school boyfriend to act like? Or what does it mean to be feminist in today's society?

Positive messages

Carrie learns some important lessons along the way, both about how to be a good writer, and about what it means to be a good friend, girlfriend, and feminist -- all stuff she can put to use in Sex and the City.

Positive role models

Readers will relate to Carrie as she struggles to figure out who her true friends are -- and how to act in a relationship. She ultimately is able to grow up enough to stand up on her own, and confront people who were mean to her. Her friend Mouse also provides a good role model -- she is smart and is in love with a boy who is kind and respectful. Even her emotional friend Maggie imparts a powerful lesson when she tells Carrie that she should expect her boyfriend to stand up for her, the way a friend does. 

Violence

Carrie's mother dies.

Sex

Carrie's friends have sex, and a boyfriend pressures her to have sex saying that, "But you can't expect me to wait much longer." Carrie is pressured to have oral sex earlier in the book. She also catches a male friend kissing his secret boyfriend, and goes with another friend to help her get birth control pills (while she's there, she also sees a girl crying after having an abortion).

 

 

Language

Some swear words, including the biggies. Carrie tells her boyfriend "F--k you!" after catching him dancing with another girl.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink and smoke cigarettes and even marijuana. Carrie and her friends go to bars and get drunk. Before Carrie liked Cosmos, she apparently drank Singapore Slings. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Carrie Diaries is a young adult-targeted Sex and the City prequel of sorts. It's is a mature book with sex, drinking, swearing, and adult themes. While Carrie is a virgin during her senior year, many of her friends are having sex, and Carrie's boyfriend pressures her, saying, "But you can't expect me to wait much longer." Another boy pressures her to perform oral sex earlier in the book. She also catches a male friend kissing his secret boyfriend, and goes with another friend to help her get birth control pills -- while she's there, she sees a girl crying after having an abortion. Characters drink and smoke cigarettes and marijuana. Carrie and her friends go to bars and get drunk. (Before Carrie liked Cosmos, she apparently drank Singapore Slings.) The book can be deep, too, and Carrie learns some important lessons along the way, both about how to be a good writer and about what it means to be a good friend, girlfriend, and feminist -- all stuff she can put to use in Sex and the City.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Carrie Bradshaw was once a virginal high school senior, living in New Jersey and trying to figure out how to navigate high school romance and friendships -- and dreaming of a writer's life in New York City. Even then, she burned pretty bright: She has a spark that lands her singing on stage with one of her favorite bands and a fashion sensibility that helps her transform her mother's ruined handbag into a fashion statement with a little hot pink nail polish. She even gets the whole school buzzing by writing a series of provoking articles under the name Pinky Weatherton. But she has her share of problems too -- most importantly, she suspects one of her best friends is cheating on her with her boyfriend. That and the school's queen bee is out to sting her.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Bushnell certainly packs this book full of plot points -- Carrie discovers a friend is gay, that another may be pregnant, and that one of her best friends is cheating with her boyfriend. Her mother's death has caused them all pain, and one of her sisters is becoming a criminal. To top it off, she has angered the most popular girl at school (and is causing more controversy with articles she is writing about cliques and popularity for the school paper).  It's a lot, but mostly well done. The only major device that simply doesn't work here is Carrie's boyfriend Sebastian. Readers may understand the initial sparks, but he is so controlling and smarmy that it's hard to understand Carrie's burning desire. 

But considering that teen girls -- and their mothers -- would have picked up this book even if it was just a list of Carrie's favorite high school outfits and '80s cassette tapes, this book has remarkable substance. Readers will not only find it believable that lively high school Carrie will grow up to be the funny, stylish city-dwelling sex columnist we know so well, they will also be left thinking about all kinds of important questions, such as what should you expect a high school boyfriend to act like? Or what does it mean to be feminist in today's society? These are the types of questions that often framed episodes of the popular TV show and kept fans debating between episodes. Ideally, this book will get parents and teens chatting in much the same way.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about who is this book for -- both teen readers and their mothers, who might be fans of the Sex in the City TV show?  If you were the author, how would write it to make sure that both audiences want to read it? 

  • Carrie discusses the death of her mother, whom she calls a feminist, even though she was a mother and always very ladylike. How has the definition -- and public perception -- of feminism changed over the years?

  • Carrie admits to acting dumb around her boyfriend. What are some ways that your friends act when they are dating someone that surprise you?  

Book details

Author:Candace Bushnell
Genre:Coming of Age
Topics:Friendship
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperTeen
Publication date:April 27, 2010
Number of pages:389
Publisher's recommended age(s):14 - 17
Read aloud:15
Read alone:15

This review of The Carrie Diaries was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written bybarbiegirl825 March 23, 2011
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Mature "preteens"

BEST BOOK EVER! it is amazing. although the subject matter is a little older. You just need a mature teen
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written bykayleearns May 26, 2011
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Chill, out, parents. Jeeeesh.

I'm fifteen years old, and I thought it was a good book. Come on parents, its not like your fifteen year old daughter, or thirteen or fourteen, doesn't know what pot, sex, and getting drunk means. They know a lot more than you think they know, and this isn't some book straight out of hell trying to corrupt your child.
What other families should know
Educational value
Teen, 13 years old Written byI love James May 11, 2010
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

GOOD 4 TEENS

i love it ANd it gives KIDS AND IT GIVES VERY GOOD MESSAGES 2 KIDS
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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