Friday, March 19, 2010

Not Your Detective Couple

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Written by: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Released: May 23, 2006 by Random House Children’s Books

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.
This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be-and where the next great band is playing.
Told in alternating chapters, teeming with music references, humour, angst, and endearing side characters, this is a love story you'll wish were your very own. Working together for the first time, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have combined forces to create a book that is sure to grab readers of all ages and never let them go.

One of those books that I knew about the movie first (it was a pretty good movie but the book is much better) and then refused to buy the movie-cover version that they peddled around that time, I’ve only just gotten around to finding this book at the library (a completely pleasant surprise) and I read it in only a few hours this evening. I have to say that this was an amazing book; hence the speed-read and automatic review.

I’m not going to say that this book changed my life, but it was incredibly insightful with the two opposing view-points alternating from chapter to chapter between Nick and Norah over the span of one night in Manhattan. You see the goings-on from both Nick and Norah, which allows you into the inner psyche of how differently guys and girls can take a situation. This allows the other characters within the novel to be seen differently as well, which adds depth to them.

I also have to admit that I rather enjoyed the language and the play on pop culture. While the music references sometimes went over my head, I got the movie ones and most of the rest. I also liked the realness of the language used by all the characters. Ok, sometimes it was a little obvious that an adult was trying to write how a teenager would speak, but the under current that was there – the swearing, the sexual referenced – just encompassed how the vast majority of people talk now. I also liked how sexuality was incorporated with several of the characters being gay and the actual exploration of the sexuality of Nick and Norah. It was refreshing to see a “young adult” novel that was like that. The fact that it was present just made it more believable. I mean, sex is an every day occurrence and this generation of people are more exploratory than those who preceded them. After all, no real 18-year-old doesn’t know what it is and most of them are doing it.

One thing that I don’t like about this book are the names. Nick and Norah strung together will always be, for me at least, Nick and Norah Charles; characters from Dashiell Hammett’s Thin Man book and following mystery movie franchise of the 1930s and ‘40s.

Overall I’m going to give this book an 8/10. It was fun and real and just seemed to be able to capture perfectly how you can change in just a few hours.

No comments: