Monday, 27 February 2012

Review: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Knopf, 2006

This is the cover of the copy I read. I have an irrational dislike of film covers on books.

Nick's just seen the girl who dumped him walk in with a new guy. What else can he do but ask the strange girl next to him to be his new girlfriend for the next five minutes?

Norah would do anything to avoid conversation with the not not-friend girl who dumped Nick... and to get over the Evil Ex whom Norah never really totally dumped. What else can she do but answer Nick's question by making out with him?

With one electric, unexpected kiss, the five-minute couple of Nick and Norah set off on an uncharted adventure called the "first date" that will turn into an infinite night of falling in and out (and in and out, and maybe in and maybe out) of love. Theirs is a first date of music, laughter, heartache, confusion, passion, taxi driver wisdom, and a jacket named Salvatore. And of course a killer soundtrack.

As Nick and Norah wander through the middle-of-the-night mystic maze of Manhattan, they share the kind of night you want to never end, where every minute counts and every moment flickers between love and disaster.

I read Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist during the course of a 3 hour train journey this weekend. It suits being read all in one go - the timeline of the book spans less than 24 hours in the lives of the two protagonists, and as such is a whirlwind ride through New York in the middle of the night, complete with drag queen Playboy bunnies, sweaty mosh pits, some pretty dubious teenage flirting, friendships made and friendships broken. In the middle of it all, Nick and Norah are on a first date of sorts, after rescuing each other, in turn, from exes they aren't quite over.

Nick & Norah is told in alternating first person chapters, so we get both viewpoints. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the book is written by two authors, I had a hard time distinguishing in any meaningful way between Nick and Norah's narrative voice. This might be because both think and speak in a typically overwrought teenage way, in which the tiniest thing means everything, and things are either wonderful or devastating and nothing in between. Assuming this was the intention of the authors, all it made me feel was old. This may well be my age, given that I am presumably 10-12 years older than the target audience, but nevertheless it did impinge on my enjoyment somewhat.

The book itself is fun enough. I found Nick and Norah likeable characters, and their middle-of-the-night adventure wasn't without charm or amusement. The book captures a feeling of being young and carefree and feeling like you could take over the world - while it was tempting to read it as "jaded" (ha) twenty-something, I imagine fifteen-year-old me would have loved it and read it to death.

Overall rating: 6/10

Book source: Borrowed from the local library.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I was contemplating reading this one but, after not enjoying The Lover's Dictionary, I thought I might give this one a pass. It's tough to find really good YA that appeals to us twenty-somethings too ;)


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