Friday, September 05, 2008

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Published in 2006. 183 pages.


First sentence: The day begins in the middle of the night.

Last words: Ready. Set. Jump.

Plot summary (from the Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data): High school student Nick O'Leary, member of a rock band, meets college-bound Norah Silverberg and asks her to be his girlfriend for five minutes in order to avoid his ex-sweetheart.

Why I read this book: In and of itself, the "gimmick" of this book - that authors Cohn and Levithan alternately wrote from the viewpoints of Norah and Nick, respectively - intrigued me. That it's a YA romance with a musical bent sealed the deal. I requested the book from my local library, fully expecting to fall in love with it.

What I loved about this book: Both Norah and Nick are likable characters, and I thoroughly enjoyed their "voices" and their interaction. The alternating viewpoint thing met my every expectation. The romance is sweet; I laughed out loud a few times; and the occasional dips into something more serious were meaningful to me.

A favorite "serious" passage: Nick asks Norah, "What are your favorite things about [being Jewish]?" Norah tells him about the concept of tikkun olam, which, as she explains it, is the idea

that the world has been broken into pieces. All this chaos, all this discord. And our job - everyone's job - is to try to put the pieces back together. To make things whole again.

As they sit and ponder the concept a little, Nick gets a bit of inspiration:
"Maybe we're the pieces," I say.

Norah's head doesn't move from my arm. "What?" she asks. I can tell from her voice that her eyes are still closed.

"Maybe that's it," I say gently. "With what you were talking about before. The world being broken. Maybe it isn't that we're supposed to find the pieces and put them back together. Maybe we're the pieces."

She doesn't reply, but I can tell she's listening carefully. I feel like I'm understanding something for the first time, even if I'm not entirely sure what it is yet.

"Maybe," I say, "what we're supposed to do is come together. That's how we stop the breaking."

Tikkum olam.

What I could have done without: Norah admits to having a "potty mouth" but the continuous profanity from both Norah and Nick as well as other characters in the book - especially their use of the f-word - made me uncomfortable. While I don't object to some "contemporary" language in the books I read - and I will say that it's the characters and plot of the book, not the bad language, that have stuck with me in the couple of weeks since I finished reading - I still don't think that it was necessary. I definitely wouldn't have missed it at all.

Two additional things: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is going to be a movie on October 3. (I'm almost thinking that I might like the movie better than the book simply because of the language restrictions. For example, in the movie, Nick's band is called "The Jerk Offs" instead of what it's called in the book.) Nick and Norah have a website at Random House.

Other book bloggers' reviews of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist: If you have read and reviewed this book, I would love to link your review here. Please leave me a comment or email me your link!


2008.49

8 comments:

  1. A movie? that might be cute. I liked this book too.

    here's my review: http://raidergirl3-anadventureinreading.blogspot.com/2008/03/book-nick-and-norahs-infinite-playlist.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. I read it last year, and I don't remember the swearing now, but I mentioned it in my review so obviously it made an impression on me.

    Here's my review:
    http://bookslistslife.blogspot.com/2007/08/nick-norahs-infinite-playlist-by-rachel.html

    ReplyDelete
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  5. Oh....this sounds like it would be lots of fun! Thanks for the review. I'm off to see if my library has this one!

    ReplyDelete
  6. The plot didn't really appeal to me, but that section you quoted has me taking a second look at this book.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I didn't have the blog when I read it but it's one of my very fave YA books and I'm looking forward to the movie! I agree with you about the language, it makes it a bit hard to recommend to teens.

    Have you read their second book - Naomi and Ely's No-Kiss List? I didn't love it as much, but it's still very good.

    ReplyDelete