“Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist” by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

07 Nov


Two popular YA authors team up here for a love story that takes place on one night among the punk clubs on New York's Lower East Side. Nick is the bassist in a band, and he's having a hard time getting over his ex, the beautiful but somewhat heartless Tris. When he spots Tris at the show — with a new guy! — Nick tries to save face by asking a random girl to pretend to be his girlfriend for the next five minutes. That girl turns out to be Norah, a super smart, super knowledgeable punk fan (her dad is a music executive) who initially hangs with Nick because she needs a ride home for her drunk best friend, Caroline. Pretty soon, though, Nick and Norah realize there's something special about the way they connect, even if they're both scared and hurt and confused. They spend the rest of the night (mostly) together, going to clubs, diners, and (gasp!) even the corporate world of midtown Manhattan. Along the way, both Nick and Norah learn that they need to let go of the past if they're going to have a real chance at the future.

This book is narrated by Nick and Norah in alternating chapters, so the reader knows just what each is thinking about the other. It's a great method, since it allows us to see how insecure, nervous, and, at times, brave, each character is. While Levithan wrote Nick's chapters and Cohn Norah's, the book is not at all disjointed.

The scenes involving music — whether in the pit at a club or talking about it afterward — are absolutely perfect. Music fans will marvel at how well the authors capture the pure joy and exhilaration of a great show. And the characters are remarkably complex. Tris, who at first seems like an awful "mean girl" cliche, turns out to be so much deeper. In fact, she eventually plays a pivotal role in getting Nick and Norah together. "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist" is a book for older teens, since the language and some of the situations might be too much for younger readers. It's one of the better books I've read in a long time, and it's definitely one that can be enjoyed by both boys and girls.

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Posted by on November 7, 2006 in Uncategorized


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