Candace Bushnell’s Books Ranked

If you’ve followed me online in any capacity then you should probably be aware that not only is Candace Bushnell one of my favourite writers, but she’s been a true inspiration for me to start writing my own stories. Through her sharp and witty writing, she’s encouraged a whole generation to be more open about dating, sex and relationships in a way that is refreshingly honest and free from prejudice. Over the years, many young people have even found the courage to start their own blog influenced by the characters of her storiesfor example me, circa 2012, fulfilling the dream of my Carrie Bradshaw fantasy, documenting a range of terrible dates online for all to see. Who hasn’t thought about that?

Candace is much more than Carrie Bradshaw and Sex and the City, however; she’s also written a selection of novels that are sparkling, sophisticated and fun, not unlike that third glass of Cosmopolitan that you know you shouldn’t drink and will probably regret later, but it’s just too difficult to say no to. Like a good cocktail, a Candace Bushnell novel will always have me wanting more, turning pages until late into the night, even if it means being a little on the tired side the next day. (It is worth it!)

Welcome to the captivating and addictive world of Candace Bushnell, a world full of intriguing, strong female characters who navigate life and love with an attitude. In this post, I’m going to compose a makeshift “Guide for Beginners” to her books by ranking 9 of them in order of “most fabulous” to “least fabulous”, although, let’s face it, I love them all.


Sex and the City

Classic. Iconic. Absolute showstopper. Our first entry is Sex and the City, a book widely regarded as Bushnell’s best and most successful to date. The most shocking thing about it is how current it feels, even three decades later (timeless alert). Not only did it spark the hugely influential TV show of the same name that helped define a whole generation of young women and gay men, but it opened up a whole new world where women no longer had to be timid or ashamed of exploring their sexuality and freed themselves from tired stereotypes. Not only that, but it’s a damn great collection of stories, with wit, humour and real surprises waiting on every page. It is what it is, the “bible” of chick lit!

Four Blondes

This book is comprised of four separate stories about four women in different stages of their lives. Jane, Winnie, Cecelia and the unnamed 40-year-old journalist from the last story are like four friends you’ve never met but have always needed, each of them sporting a shade of blonde and each of them providing something different for the readers to love. The stories are largely gossip heavy, with the characters coming across as shallow and even whiny at times (really leaning into the “blonde” thing) but nevertheless they are quite interesting to behold. Four Blondes at its heart is a refreshing insider point of view into the lives of the privileged and wealthy, and how money can buy happiness if you know what you want. The book sets out to make you feel glamorous and blonde, and that’s exactly the effect it achieves in me after reading.

Summer and the City

A sequel of sorts to Sex and the City TV series … only it’s set before it takes place. I’ll be honest and say that this book took me by surprise, because I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as the iconic TV show. It tells the story of Carrie Bradshaw’s first days in New York, fresh out of high school and living the dream of being in the Big Apple. The first thing that swung the book for me was the excitement that I felt from reading the pages; it felt as if I could experience Carrie’s love for New York with her as she was living it out. We also get to see how she meets Samantha and Miranda and the formation of one of the most formidable female friend groups in fictional history. Of course on top of all of this we experience love, heartbreaks, fashion breakthroughs and all the elements we came to know and love from Sex and the City but in the form of a new (yet slightly younger) setting.

Lipstick Jungle

Lipstick Jungle is the tale of three powerful, sexy women fighting in the concrete jungle that is New York City in the early 2000s. I was compelled by these characters and the brave way they faced issues that only strong and empowered women would have to face, such as the decision to balance their personal and family lives over their career. I found the series to be a solid entry in Bushnell’s body of work, but the comparisons to the frankly untouchable Sex and the City hindered it slightly and kept it from reaching its full potential. Still, a great story in its own right, and a stellar addition to her catalogue.

Is There Still Sex in the City?

I really waited for this book and wasn’t disappointed. It’s the survival guide for single (and divorced) women in their 50s, with Candace Bushnell baring all and giving us the lowdown on all the latest lingo, from cubs to catnips to cougars, even the astonishing surgery known as the “Mona Lisa Treatment”, something you could only read through her words to believe. Candace talks about sex and dating in this age group in a very natural and healthy way, like she did years previously with her most iconic work. This book may yet mark a milestone in women’s fiction, and after reading it myself, I realised that maybe my fifties could be a lot more fun than I’d previously imagined!

Trading Up

In Trading Up, we follow supermodel Janey Wilcox, one of the protagonists of Four Blondes, in her attempt at climbing ladder of the New York social scene using her beauty and influence to get her the men and the life she believes she deserves. Naturally, the journey to the top isn’t without its obstacles; gossip, a jealous nemesis and the natural tick of her biological clock are competing against her to keep her from her goals. Truly a hidden gem in Bushnell’s bibliography, this book is funny, witty and sharp as a tack, and with Janey’s complex yet fascinating character, Bushnell has created a story about a skilful woman who is a true survivor in the often-ruthless metropolis.

One Fifth Avenue 

I can’t lie, this book started off a little bit too slow for me as it rigidly stuck to its description of everyday life in Upper New York, yet that all changed when I reached the middle of the novel. From that point on I was turning pages rapidly and couldn’t put it down; the more I read the more I discovered this enticing story about the inhabitants of the iconic One Fifth Avenue whose lives weave together to form a series of events full of drama, twists and surprises. If you want a rewarding slow burner, this is it.

Killing Monica 

Killing Monica hasn’t exactly received the same kind of warm reception that many of Bushnell’s other novels have, yet its plot is considerably more inventive than many of the others. The story centres around Pandy Wallis (or PJ for short), a writer of a series of best selling books that have been turned into huge movies (sound familiar?) Her works feature the character of Monica whom fans and critics are drawn to, and they’re all they want PJ to keep writing about. PJ herself has other plans, but everyone around her, especially her rabid fans, don’t want her to. Naturally, PJ decides the only way to move forward with her career is to “kill” the character that gave her fame and glory. This book is as Meta as it gets, the premise is truly bizarre yet utterly enticing to think about, and that really sums up this entry.

The Carrie Diaries 

Although coming in at the bottom of the list (with me not being a big Young Adult fan being more to do with it rather than the book itself), this is still a very good prequel that goes even further into the makings of Carrie Bradshaw. It tells of her great disappointment as a teenager towards her family life, her relationships with boys and her dream to become a writer in NYC (I mean, pretty much my teenage years as well, strange coincidence!) Bushnell’s trademark wit is present here, and the ever-sparkling personality of Carrie shines off the pages, even in her formative years. If you love Carrie, this is a must-read.

So, considering this list isn’t your first introduction to the world of Bushnell, what are you favourite novels of hers? Do you agree with this list, or do you have any comments to add? Please let me know; it’d be interesting to see if anybody feels the same way I do (or if there’s anybody out there who feels the Carrie Bradshaw vibes more than I)!

Find out more about Candace on her official website:

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.