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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, a review by Stev17

Hello there, my avid fans! I’m back! And I’ve been reading! What exactly have I been reading, you ask? Oh, this and that, but what I’m here to review is Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. I read the hardcover version from the library, and had I bought it, it would have been $16.95. Thank goodness for libraries.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is about two teenagers, Nick and Norah. The chapters from Nick’s point of view are written by David Levithan, and the chapters from Norah’s point of view are written by Rachel Cohn. They planned nothing in advance and emailed the book back and forth chapter by chapter.
Anywho.  Nick, the poor schmuck, has recently been dumped by his girlfriend of six months, Tris. He is the bassist in a band with two other guys (their band is lacking a drummer) and he is a music fanatic. Norah has recently gotten rid of her controlling boyfriend, Tal. She spends her days looking after her best friend Caroline while they roam Manhattan clubs at night.  Norah is a music snob who dislikes the Beatles. Which makes me like her less.
I know, sounds cliché. But it gets better.
Nick’s band has finished playing at a little club, when Nick notices Tris with a new dude. Nick has no inclination to talk to her, so he turns to the nearest girl and says “I know this is going to sound strange, but would you mind being my girlfriend for the next five minutes?” The girl happens to be our lovely Norah. This is where the chapter ends. The next chapter begins in exactly the same place, only now it’s from Norah’s point of view. It starts out with, “I answer his question by putting my hand around the back of his neck and pulling his face down to mine.”
Now we all know what happens next. Nick and Norah fall helplessly in love and live happily ever after, yada yada yada. WRONG. Nick and Norah end up in several odd situations and encounters afterward, driving Nick’s car, Jessie, to this club, taking the train to that one, ending up in a Korean grocery store and a restaurant that serves good borscht. It’s an interesting night.
So, a little more about Nick and Norah… Let’s start with Nick. He’s somewhat shy, and extremely sarcastic. He stands up for his car, Jessie, when people call her names, and he writes poems and lyrics. He’s mostly motivated by desire to either get back together with Tris or get over Tris. He’s kind of centered around Tris. In the beginning, Nick’s nothing but a sad, heartbroken dude, but by the end of the book he’s had all these deep insights and he sees Tris for the, ahem, meanie she is. He certainly knows more about himself at the end of the book, and he’s learned more about other people in general.
Norah’s turn! I didn’t like her quite as much as I liked Nick, but she’s cool in her own way. She goes to a Catholic school, her dad’s a big record company CEO, and she wears flannel shirts. She’s Jewish, and she’s only ever had one boyfriend, Tal, who was, overall, not a swell guy. Norah is also sarcastic and she’s snarky and prickly at times, but it seems like she’s trying to hide inner turmoil and terror. Once upon a time she was motivated only to protect Caroline, and maybe to get Tal out of her head. All that clears up, and by the end of the book, she really just wants to get to know herself and Nick a bit better, which she starts to do nearing the end. She’s certainly more confident about herself (really confident, not the fake I’m-hiding-behind-swear-words-and-sarcasm confident).
I’m pretty sure the theme of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist was something along the lines of Once you let go of the past and its issues you’ll be better off and happier. There’s some serious letting go of the past going on here. The authors seem to be saying that the past is the past and holding on to it is only going to make you bitter and unhappy.
Oooh, now comes my favorite part of the blog post: I get to tell you my opinion! YESSSSSSSS! Okay, here goes. I really, really, REALLY loved this book. It was sweet and VERY funny. I especially liked the chapters written from Nick’s point of view. I felt closer to him than I did to Norah, and I thought his voice was deeper and funnier at the same time. Norah’s chapters were good, just… Less so. I thought hers were a bit weaker than Nick’s. Nick’s chapters were more in depth and better written, almost like poetry.

I don’t predict that Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist will end up a classic or anything, but it was definitely worth reading. In fact, I read it twice. I think it would be really interesting to write an entire book the way Cohn and Levithan did, emailing chapters back and forth without any prior planning. It certainly explains some of the odd twist the book had.

But what do I think of the ending, you ask? I thought it was rather satisfactory. It left me wanting to know more about Nick and Norah, in the same way we want to know more about Harry and Ginny or Percy and Annabeth. I suppose I’m just a sucker for a good love story. I’m definitely going to seek out more books by David Levithan. Not so sure about more Rachel Cohn, though. I’ve already found another one by Levithan and Cohn, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares which was almost as good and just as funny as Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. In the vast forest of contemporary fiction, I think Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is probably one of the taller trees. Darn good book.

Oh! And I got an extra special little surprise! In the back of the book, written on a blue sticky note, was this message: “If you love this book as much as I story.” This was followed by a large and mildly creepy smiley face, and the date 8/7/09. This is why I love library books. And people who read them.

I’d rate this book Four out of Five Chocolate Bars.

Now I know you’re just dying to hear about what I thought of the cover. I thought it was kind of cool, especially the fonts in which the title was written. I liked that Nick’s name was in an almost Gothic font, while Norah’s was in a more modern, practical font. I feel like their names as written kind of describe them. However, I thought the bottom half was kind of random. As if the publishers couldn’t think of anything more meaningful than a couple kissing. I mean, sure, it’s a love story, but it’s a good thing I don’t judge books by their covers. The cover didn’t suit the book’s originality. I’ve seen a cover that was a dark purple, and smack in the middle was “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” in the same fonts as my cover, and with a heart made of an earbud cord around it with Manhattan at night sort of reflected in the background. This cover made MUCH more sense to me. It has all the awesomeness of the name fonts, while incorporating both the music and love that the book is about. AND it looks really good. The city at night in the background was a nice touch, and it tied the cover into the book even more. Me gusta.

One thing about this book: mucho swearing and sexual content. Just saying.

All right, you’ve heard my thoughts, now off with you! Seek out Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist ASAP and read it and love it. Thank you. And. Goodnight.

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