Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn
Published: 23rd May 2005
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Nick and Norah are both suffering from broken hearts.
When Nick sees the girl who dumped him walk in with a new guy, he asks the strange girl next to him to be his girlfriend for the next five minutes.
Norah would do anything to avoid conversation with the not-friend girl who dumped Nick, and get over the Evil Ex whom Norah never quite broke up with. And so she agrees.
What follows is a sexy, funny, roller coaster of a story of a first date over one very long night in New York.
This is the second book from David Levithan I had read, the first being (Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares), which is also a collaboration with Rachel Cohn. I purchased this book mainly because I’d seen and enjoyed the adaptation (a review will be coming your way soon, keep any eye out!), and wanted to read the source material. As I’d seen the film, I had a notion of who the characters were and what the plot would be about so I went into the novel with that in the back of my mind. This may or may not have influenced my opinion on the novel. Usually the rule of the thumb is that the book is always better and this one stands by that.
Firstly, what stood out to me about this book are the characters. The authors have a great flair for writing interesting characters. They always feel like they’re realistic, and I usually find them relatable. The two protagonist’s, Nick (written by Levithan), and Norah (written by Cohn) are no exception.
I like that they both have a blunt quality with each other, and that they kick about a lot of banter. The dialogue and the language used is what stood out for me. Norah is very cynical and sassy, and she jumps out from the page. I like her strong personality and that she isn’t a walk over. She tells it like it is, and isn’t afraid to give anyone both barrels. Nick is slightly more reserved granted, but he still will tell people where to go if need be. Which brings me onto the profanities, I’d seen a lot of people say that they didn’t like the use of strong language – but for me, it does nothing but make the character’s seem more realistic. I swear if I went to any high school or college now, and listened to the students speak in the halls – that is exactly what they sound like. I think it’s just how people express themselves, and I wasn’t offended in the slightest, but fair warning if that bothers you…
One thing that bugs me to death is the insta-love. When characters meet each other randomly and fall head over heels – and lose all sense of logic! I appreciated the raw and genuine attitude they have towards meeting and interacting. As you can see from the blurb that Nick still has feelings for his ex (otherwise why would he care about seeing her) and I like that he isn’t totally blindsided immediately. The date is spontaneous but not instant love – hope I’m making sense!
I really loved that this book is set in New York, and that the two characters spend a crazy night running through the streets and getting up to all kinds. It seems, so far, to be a theme in Levithan’s work for this setting – and it works well! They say it’s best to write what you know, and I can tell he is born and raised New Yorker. I felt like I was in the streets, looking at the lights, and hearing the noise. Fantastic for me, as it’s one of my more favourite places to visit. (That sounds like I swan off every third Tuesday — I’ve only been once… but still, I loved it!)
Overall, I think this book was better than the other collaboration novel with Cohn, I preferred these characters more. There was something extra that read more realistic and believable which made this book stand out.
Recommended if you’re looking for a light, quick read – it’s a fun novel, full of teenage angst and drama in a New York backdrop.