Sunday, 11 January 2009

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist / Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Summary - It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City—and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.

Review - I jumped on this book before I had the chance to see the movie and it owned my heart the moment 'queercore' was mentioned. That being said, I do believe the substantial amount of hype that I have heard about this book robbed me of complete enjoyment. I never got that unexpected thrill, instead I kept thinking 'what next?' It did at one point become a wobbling tale of ...and then and then and then's.

I am suprised that the authors were able to keep such a strong narrative throughout when by all accounts, there was no plotting involved. Nick and Norah are both fully realised characters, possessing relatable quirks and a dogged need to survive the night. I might have been more impressed with the concept of two authors writing alternating chapters from one of the protagonist's perspective had I not read Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight (Rebecca Sparrow & Nick Earls) first. I think the latter was better at using the alternating chapters with one cohesive story.

The characters, I loved. Norah's someone I can imagine being friends with and I badly wish to possess one of Nick's compilations. Both characters are straight edge (no drinking or smoking) which is rare in this day and age and I like that the authors decided to skirt the hardcore rocking, rubbished by alcohol cliche that could have been used. The dialogue is a gift, snappy and yet realistic with it's ums and errs. Teens are quick with the retorts and can be ridiculously verbose and I loved that this was shown within this novel.

I have to add a note about the profanity in this book. Some people will object to it. Some won't. The reality is...teens swear and this is a YA book. I normally don't mind profanity, I am a huge fan of Deadwood for goodness sakes, however some of the frequency of the swearing did grate on my nerves after awhile it just seemed unnecessary. That's when it's not so good.

Heartbreak can suck, exes suck more. The tone of this book was great. I felt that it really spoke to the youth of today with the integration of music, openmindedness and a Yugo (an automobile I was completely unfamiliar with until reading this.) There are many things to like and love about this novel but I feel the execution and fluidity suffered from the lack of plotting.

Published: 2006
Format: Paperback , 192 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Origin: USA
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Preview - Chapter 1 Excerpt
Rachel Cohn's
David Levithan's
Random House - Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - find playlists, blogs and podcasts here