Sep 15, 2008

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, 2006, Random House Children's Books.

I actually really hate editions of books that blast COMING SOON TO A THEATRE NEAR YOU ZOMG!!! on the cover. In fact I've been known to not buy a book even though I really wanted it simply because it's got annoying amounts of promotional advertising on or in the book itself. I made an exception for this book because my local library didn't have a copy I could take out and for the love of all YA novels that look snarkily hip and fresh and a million other things I wanted to read the darn book.

Man, was that a bad choice. I have a confession to make to you all. I wanted to like this book. Badly. Namely the previews for the forthcoming film adaption make it look so bad ass that I expected said bad-assery to have originated with the book. That SO did not happen. But instead of complaining ahead of time about my personal feelings regarding this novel, let us move on to the review.

NICK is a whiny, broken hearted bassist in a queercore band. Having just been dumped by his girlfriend Tris, he's naturally less than pleased to see her show up at his gig with her latest guy in tow when he's got no one. So what else can he do but ask the girl standing next to him to pretend to be his gf?

NORAH is a snarky rich girl from Jersey with no other plans than to keep her bff Caroline safe from the clutches of sketchy guys, and oh yeah, go work in the same South African kibbutz next year as her terminal ex-bf Tal. She happens to be standing next to Nick when he sees Tris headed his way and thus decides to ask a random stranger to be his gf for the next five minutes.

What follows is a night that takes these two from a punk-rock club in Lower Manhattan to all around the hipster circuit of New York City. Evading ex significant others, trying to keep tabs on your friends, watching transexual nuns in burlesque perform The Sound of Music and happening on a surprise show by mutual favorite band Where's Fluffy? may just turn a five-minute pretend relationship into something real.

With this formula one would think the book is set up for success, sure to please the reading needs of any YA reader. And while I have seen many gushing reviews of the work on the Visual Bookshelf app through Facebook, I've gotta say something tells me you either love this book or you hate it. With all the name-dropping of NYC clubs, hotspots, and retro music the characters feel a bit plastic. My biggest problem with the book was the lack of chemistry between Nick and Norah who were supposed to be beginning like, THE most significant relationships of their young adult lives. I'm actually convinced that Nick and Norah were written to be David Levithan and Rachel Cohn but in their teenage years. I haven't read any of Rachel Cohn's previous work so I cannot speak for how this compares with that, and I've only read one other David Levithan, Boy Meets Boy, but compared with that I think DL did a better job in that book.

What do you think?

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