Chic lit

Your teen years are fodder for the bookshelves with “Boys and Girls Like You and Me” and “The Carrie Diaries.”

PHOTO COURTESY BALZER + BRAY

PHOTO COURTESY BALZER + BRAY

âÄúThe Carrie DiariesâÄù AUTHOR: Candace Bushnell PAGES: 400 PRICE: $18.99 If youâÄôre a devotee of the TV series, certain bits of a new âÄúSex and the CityâÄù spinoff may make you question who has ultimate Carrie power: her creator, Candace Bushnell, or the men and women who brought her to TV, like Michael Patrick King and Jenny Bicks ? âÄúThe Carrie Diaries,âÄù a prequel marketed as a young adult book, will force serious devotees to deal with a few discrepancies between the racy show and its new, teen-friendly manifestation. Considering its release right before the upcoming âÄúSex and the City 2âÄù flick, itâÄôs hard not to wonder if creator Candace Bushnell is cashing in on Carrie in any way she can, even by plunging into a new age demographic. If so, the prequel is a smart move in creating a new generation of wannabe sex columnist shoe collectors. But will longtime fans well beyond their high school years enjoy the book as well? If they can get past a few plot loopholes. First of all, CarrieâÄôs dad is present in the novel, whereas on the show she states he left her when she was very small. Then thereâÄôs the whole virgin thing. In the episode âÄúHot Child in the City ,âÄù Carrie says she lost her virginity one summer to a kid with a pool table. So if youâÄôre a huge fan, take âÄúThe Carrie DiariesâÄù as an entity very separate from onscreen Carrie. The subject material is undeniably teenybopper. Like any teen girlâÄôs journal, âÄúThe Carrie DiariesâÄù is full of things that occupy her mind: boys, boys, boys. WeâÄôre supposed to assume itâÄôs practice for her future career as a fabulous, Fendi -wearing New York City sex columnist, though CarrieâÄôs pretty much the only one within the pages who doesnâÄôt do the deed. SheâÄôs too busy deciphering the mixed signals from her enigmatic boyfriend, Sebastian, grappling with her family situation in the years since her motherâÄôs death and figuring out why her best friends are acting so strange. ItâÄôs CarrieâÄôs senior year, but the trials sheâÄôs going through feel very middle school. Sorry, college girls who love spending a Sunday with the DVDs âÄî âÄúThe Carrie DiariesâÄù are a bit boring if youâÄôve experienced all that crap already. âÄúBoys and Girls Like You and MeâÄù AUTHOR: Aryn Kyle PAGES: 240 PRICE: $24.00 While âÄúThe Carrie DiariesâÄù will be picked up by teen girls and peeked at by their 8-year-old sisters, award-winning writer Aryn KyleâÄôs new tome of short stories, âÄúBoys and Girls Like You and Me,âÄù is a book about the rocky road of youth written for adults. Kyle won raves from critics with her coming-of-age debut novel âÄúThe God of Animals âÄù and has seen her work run in âÄúThe Atlantic MonthlyâÄù and âÄúThe Best American Short Stories 2007âÄù anthology, so you know girlfriend wields her pen like a weapon. Her short story repertoire is intelligent indeed; each piece is compelling and compact, with prose that creates a whole world in only a handful of pages. She, like Joan Didion before her, believes strongly in the power of the first sentence; each story opens with simple impact. âÄúThe first man I slept with kept his eyes closed the whole time,âÄù begins âÄúBrides,âÄù which centers on a shy outsiderâÄôs exposure to the twisted world of her high school drama club. KyleâÄôs characters are far from perfect; theyâÄôre real people dealing with real issues. In âÄúNine,âÄù a little girl makes up fantastic lies to help her cope with her mother going MIA. âÄúSex Scenes from a Chain BookstoreâÄù reeks of suburban dissatisfaction and apathy, while âÄúCaptainâÄôs ClubâÄù is a melancholy growing-up tale about a shy, sensitive boy finding his way in a complicated adult world. TheyâÄôre everyday stories, but KyleâÄôs succinct prose elevates them to a strikingly otherworldly status.