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

Title: Hot Mess: Summer in the City
Authors: Julie Kraut & Shallon Lester
ISBN: 0385735065
Pages: 352
Release Date: May 13, 2008
Genre: Teen, Chick Lit
Rating: *** 1/2 (out of 5)

From the back cover:

Emma Freeman is waving buh-bye to her standard summer of station-wagoning around the suburbs. This summer she’s heading to the big city. Granted, Emma’s only in high school, way less blond, and a whole lot more shoe-deprived, but she’s still ready to give Carrie Bradshaw a run for her money. She’s armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of Sex and the City, a MetroCard, and her best friend – does a girl really need anything else?

Emma’s totally prepped for days at a fabulous internship and nights of socialite-ing around town. But when you’re seventeen and not an heiress, reality is far from pink fizzy drinks and red velvet ropes. As the summer heats up, Emma learns that glamour is hard to come by when your only friend in the metro area is too boy-crazy to hang, your budget is more H&M than D&G, and you spend eight hours a day working for a man who proves that the devil wears Dockers too.

Add one little white lie told to one very hot coworker, an attempted book deal, and a roommate who makes Paris Hilton look junior varsity, and this summer in the city is starting to turn into one hot mess.

Hot Mess: Summer in the City is another addition to that genre of books aimed at high school age girls who are fantasizing about escaping from their families and becoming an adult. It is an unlikely story in terms of real life, but it is fun and is a great fantasy for any girl who is just waiting for her big chance. When I was in high school, I used to daydream about going to New York City with my best friend and just living there, away from everything, in the middle of the coolest city in the world. Now I’m old enough to know that New York City is the last thing that I want, but back then, it was everything.

That’s where Hot Mess: Summer in the City‘s appeal is. It really is a fantasy, a fun romp for a high school girl, and for those teenagers stuck at home who want to live vicariously through Emma. She gets herself into all kinds of PG-13 rated trouble and even has a fling with a hot New York City man. Her job is another story, though. It is incredibly dull and boring, and her boss seems to be from another planet entirely. Emma’s daily encounters with “The Dorf” are enjoyably written and funny.

I have to say that this book is probably much better for teens, rather than adults who occasionally read the YA genre. There are simply too many pop culture references for the average adult to understand. While current pop culture references are a great thing for teens – it keeps the book trendy and hip – older readers might find themselves confused, or simply frustrated, with the abundant pop culture references that they likely don’t understand. It’s definitely a fun book that made me me smile and chuckle multiple times, but in the end, it is probably better suited to teens who dream of going off to the big city and living fabulous lives.


  1. I have shoes similar to those on the cover! I really like that cover. I bought this when it first came out but haven’t read it. I’m definitely interested to see how many of the pop culture references I get. It will be a challenge to myself! I was born in New York and still haven’t given up my dream of someday going back there šŸ˜€

  2. I have this one in my TBR pile; I wanted to read it because one of my friend’s nicknames is ‘Hot Mess.’ Silly reason, huh? :-p

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