Thursday, 22 January 2009

Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List / Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Summary - Naomi and Ely live in the same apartment block. They've been soul mates since forever, sharing clothes, music, in-jokes, adventures - they even have a 'no kiss' list of people who are absolutely off limits for kissing (an insurance policy against a Naomi and Ely bust up.) But what if they don't love each other in quite the same way, or play by the same rules? When Ely kisses Naomi's current boyfriend, the fault lines in their relationship begin to crack.

Review - I happily discovered that Cohn and Levithan plotted this book out this time around. They knew where they were going with this tale and it showed. I liked the skipping perspectives and the insider's (and sometimes outsider's) glimpse at the friendship of these longtime best buds. The humour is brilliant and there are many allusions and jokes that depict the breadth of their history. I do feel that the characterisation of Naomi was better, I knew more about her motivations, her interactions, her parents and even her horrific music taste. I felt that I knew more about Gabriel and Bruce The Second than I did Ely. Ely, while a thoroughly engaging character, lacked the depth of the others. Maybe this was due to many of the minor characters reflecting on Naomi more but it's simply the way I feel. A great strength of this book is the Ely/Bruce the Second relationship as it was just plain beautiful to read - relatable and incredibly touching. A special mention for the Gabriel chapters as I really found myself rooting for this character!

The novel is incredibly well written, Cohn and Levithan's styles mesh fabulously. The themes of unrequited love, friendship, sexuality and being true to yourself are universal but told with such humour and truth that you feel for each of the characters without judgement. I have two pathetic gripes though; 1) the spelling of Ely should be with an 'i' and I found it continually frustrating to see it with an ill fitting 'y' and 2) the use of emoticons in Naomi's chapters took me out of the story somewhat. These are slight issues, somewhat telling of my being slightly older than the intended audience but it was a great read with a group of people that you really invest in.

Published: 2008
Format: Paperback, 230 pages
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Origin: USA

**Note - Hayden Panettiere has apparently signed on to play Naomi in the movie version and I cannot think of anyone less like the character. Not happy.

No comments: