Hot Mess: Summer in the City by Julie Kraut & Shallon Lester

Hot Mess: Summer in the City is the debut novel by Julie Kraut and Shallon Lester. It’s fun, in a “Sex and the City for a new generation” type of way. The release of the SATC movie this month should only increase its popularity and Hot Mess: Summer in the City is the perfect companion for teens who are dying to live their own New York City adventure, a la Carrie Bradshaw.

Emma Freeman has just been dumped by her boyfriend. She and Brian were supposed to spend their last remaining summer before he went off to college lifeguarding together. Once he dumps her for his new college pals, Emma decides that her parents’ idea of interning in NYC is not such a bad idea after all. It has to be better than spending the summer working at the town pool with her loser ex. She convinces her best friend, Rachel, to join her and both girls are set up with internships, a small allowance, and rent money in record time.

The pair quickly realize that the summer will not be all pink fizzy drinks, Manolo Blahniks, and Sex and the City adventures. Instead, Emma spends most of her time watching Law and Order reruns and eating takeout. She and Rachel luck out when they find a cheap sublet in Union Square- living with Jayla, a socialite with a heart who is trying to prove to daddy that she can manage an apartment and two tenants. Of course, Rachel ends up with a great internship at a feminist online ‘zine, while Emma is stuck interning at MediaInc, being harassed by her boss, Dorfman. The devil definitely does wear Dockers in this novel! Then Rachel begins dating guys she meets in JDate, Jayla is partying, and Emma is stuck at home. The one time Emma goes out with Jayla, she tells a white lie to a gorgeous boy- who ends up working at her company. And he just might think she is a college graduate and media salesperson instead of an 18-yr old high school intern.

This is a fun book and the perfect beach read. I think teenage girls will love living vicariously through Emma and Rachel while they traipse through the city. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know many parents who send their rising high school seniors to live in NYC for the summer with an allowance and an unpaid internship! This is the perfect “escape” book for teen girls this summer. At times I was little annoyed with all the pop culture references (bands, songs, TV shows, etc that are popular *rightnow*), knowing they will only date the book a few years down the line. But for this summer, the book should definitely be a success!

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