Crown Books for Young Readers: Clean Getaway by Nic Stone

Is There Still Sex in the City?

Candace Bushnell hit pay dirt with her 1997 debut book, Sex and the City, a compilation of lifestyle essays she wrote for the New York Observer. Her fame skyrocketed the following year when HBO turned Sex into a racy sitcom about a group of women in their mid 30s and early 40s in the Manhattan dating world. Two decades later, Bushnell has returned with Is There Still Sex in the City?, which she describes as "autofiction"--a combination of autobiography and fiction. No matter what it's called, it's vintage Bushnell--sassy, smart, funny and insightful.

Candace and her band of confidantes are now in their late 50s and, after several divorces, find themselves back in the dating world. The dating terrain is stacked against women of a certain age--not only are they seemingly invisible to men their own age, but the rules have changed, too. The focus has moved from flirting with people in person to making yourself a commodity on dating apps (which, as one male friend says, "feed into the worst part of your psyche. The part that secretly wants to judge a beauty pageant."). Amid the MAM (Middle-Aged Madness) and cosmetic surgeries, Candace and her friends try to find the ideal man in a dating pool filled with very young men interested in older women and men who are old enough to be their fathers.

With her finger on the pulse of women her age, she manages to be hilarious but not flippant about the responsibility. Bushnell's rollicking misadventures are witty, confident and compassionate. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant