Thursday, August 27, 2009

BR: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist


by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

I picked this book up because I liked the movie, and Khy over at freneticreader blog really likes David Levithan. Thought I'd give it a whirl.

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist starts with Nick asking Norah to be his girlfriend for 5 minutes after seeing his ex at a club. She agrees, and an unexpected kiss sparks a crazy night through Manhattan. This 'first date' includes a yellow Yugo, strip club, ET three-way, trashed best-friends, gay best-friends, icky ex-boyfriends, mean ex-girlfriends, and of course, music. The night comes alive, as Nick and Norah seem to fall in and out (and again and again) of love.

I liked this book a lot, because despite some more vulgar language than seen recently, it's unexpectedly sweet. It may seem as if the adventure is the main part, but really, it's the characters. They're written exceptionally well, complex, sarcastic, and insecure. The novel is told from their different POVs, alternating with each chapter.

Nick is still hung up about his ex, Tris, and is constantly reminded of her, which leads to Norah getting frustrated. He's adorable, so sweet, and way too nice, writing love songs and making countless playlists that went practically ignored by Tris. Norah appreciates it though, and is upset with how Tris treated him. However, whenever Nick is mentioned, I can't help but think of Michael Cera from the movie, I'm not sure if that's a good thing, but a mental image of Michael Cera definitely does not go unwelcomed. :P

Norah, a rich record exec's daughter doesn't have that much experience with boys except for her lousy on/off boyfriend Tal. She thinks she's "frigid" and too cold towards boys, something she wants to change with Nick. She's insecure and afraid of liking him, and doesn't know what she wants. Here's a passage by Norah to describe the beginning of the 'date'.

[Where's Fluffy, a band] could make me forget I want to crawl into my bed and hide under the covers, and that I only wasted my youth on Tal, and that I'm on a date with a good guy and I've given him more mixed signals than a dyslexic Morse code operator.

haha, right? It's this type of writing that makes the book so much better, along with the characters which I really didn't describe well enough or give them enough credit.

Another thing I liked was the way the authors weaved in the music. Music is constantly mentioned, whether it's references, or as a band. Music fanatics would know a hell of a lot more about this than me, since I only recognize a few of the bands mentioned. It's almost like an inside joke that I'm on the outside of sometimes.

8.5/10 - because I liked the book a lot. The characters were really well written, the writing was fantastic, and the setting was great. I could see the 'date' they were on, and some scenes are pretty darn funny. The alternating perspectives were a great idea and added to the story rather than taking away from it. The two voices were clear and different, so I always had a sense of who's narrating, not getting confused. There is some pretty commonly-dropped F-bombs, and maybe some mature scenes as well. Not for little kids :) . Would definitely recommend this to someone who likes music (more punk-rockish than country though) or to someone who wants to read a funny, quirky romance novel with some unique ideas.

--AyC

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