Friday, October 17, 2008

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


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, humor, 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.

Grade: Barely a C-. BARELY. I keep going back and forth on this grade - it's somewhere between a D and a C.

Fuck, my thoughts on this book are so fucking confusing. See, if I’d read it right when it came out, when there were no plans for a fucking movie, I’d have said, “This novel would make a fucking great movie.” Alas, I can’t call dibs on that statement now. But I suppose I can explain my train of thought...?

There’s nothing more fucking cinematically perfect than two strangers who cross paths and—!—fall the fuck in love. Mix in a few guitar strums, kissing by the lamppost light, city gazing, and “taxi driver wisdom”, and you get this awe-worthy fucking ideal people secretly dream off: falling in love while you’re out exploring the fuck out of the (assumedly—never been) greatest city in the world.

Rah, rah, you tapped into some deep-as-fuck desires. So whatcha gonna do now?

You will fucking set up for something interesting in the first few chapters and then you’ll ramble and ramble once they go see the fucking lesbian nuns (long story)(ambiguity not intended—take the clean version, and that’s what I fucking mean).

Then you’ll make Flannel Girl (Norah—another long story) totally heat things up in her usually-frigid wake and drag Quirky Cute (Nick) along for the ride, so to speak, in a closet at the lesbian nuns’ fucking club.

Then you’ll make them both fuck it up—her for her naïveté, him for...something—and then you’ll spend another good three chapters bomb dropping the word fuck every other fucking word not unlike what I’m fucking doing here, no kidding, and making Flannel have a heart to heart with Whore from Hell (Nick’s ex) who for some fucking inexplicable reason is bipolar and alternates between being object of hate and randomly showing up to teach Flannel how to kiss using the frenulum method (totally gonna look that up, though). Literally, hands-fucking-on lesson on how to kiss. The girl’s fucking ex.

If that makes no fucking sense, it’s sure as fuck not my problem.

My main fucking problem is that the wavelength for this novel is something like:

Brilliant Observations, Banter, What-have-you

(Repeat for 183 incredibly long pages.)

David Levithan’s writing started off way better than Rachel Cohn’s, and then she caught on, and then his chapters became a whole fucking lot shorter and hers more all over the fucking place, to the point that when I got to page fucking like 125 or something, I fucking had to force myself to move on.

Then the fucking raunchiness (literally) began, which was well done, and then they realized some Big Important Lesson and the book ended on a okay-to-good note.

Interspersed throughout the narrative is some very cute-making ideas (loved their discussion of her Jewish beliefs, for example), and Quirky Cute is adorable every now and then, but fuck me, did this get the fuck unbearable every now and then. High concept is not a must for me, and this is the farthest thing from it, which I usually have no fucking problem with, except that it RAMBLED. ON AND ON AND ON around the middle—about kibbutz, Brown, Tal-lawl, having sex with Whore From Hell, etc—making the relatively short nature of the novel so long. Not that it wasn’t well written—it was. But fucking oh my GOD, get ON with the indiscernible plot fucking now!

I see the appeal; however, I think this one was better left for the screen. Shall be watching the movie version, obv, because I love the premise. The dawdling here, however, didn’t cater to my needs, so I don’t recommend it unless you’re sure I’m full of shit. I know people will become, like, fucking flesh-eating fiends at the sight of this fucking review, but James told me to review it, so all complaints can be forwarded to him.

(I did intentionally leave out a part of this novel that annoyed me. Did anyone get my anything-but-subliminal message? Check the comments for further explanation.)

ETA: I was also disappointed with the fact that, for all the colorful language, there are NO NEOLOGISMS INTRODUCED WITH THE WORD "FUCK".


Steph said...

Subliminal: I don't mind cursing; reading my blog will paint a pretty accurate picture of that. But...way overdone here. Maybe it's realistic to how we think (I can't recall how much I curse in my thoughts, but I'm sure it's a lot). But come on. "... went to wash my face to wake the fuck up" is taking it a bit too far. Quote from the book. It got distracting, IMO.

Nurin said...

Yeah they did swear a bit the point where it wasn't realistic at all.

I did like the book more than you xD but like always, your review was great ;)

Caroline said...

I read this book over a year ago, but I still laughing over your subliminal message after the third f-bomb.

I loved this book despite agreeing with pretty much all of what you said against. I want to say I almost like the movie better, though- it deviates from the plot a bit but it's so true to the spirit of the book. And much of what bothered me was taken out, such as the Trish's kissing lessons.

AND! bonus! It's a PG-13 movie! SO THEY CAN ONLY SAY FUCK ONCE!!

Steph said...

It's not that I didn't like the book - it had its moments, it sure did. HowEVER.... I can recommend a ton of books before this one, thus the lower rating.


Alea said...

hehe. You know i love this book, I think i read it in like two days and was smiling the whole time!

Amee said...

Wow, I think this is the first review you wrote that I couldn't finish reading.

Anything you were trying to say got lost in all the "fucks" and I really have no idea what your opinion was. Except for the C rating which must mean not a whole lot. I hope the book isn't that way because I doubt I'll be able to finish if "fuck" is every few words like that. :|

Anonymous said...

Amee- Yeah, there's a lot of cursing in the book.

Steph- So far, no complaints directed my way yet. MWAHAHA!

I liked your review- I laughed the entire way through.

And like I said before, I think I have said "wake the fuck up" before, lol.

Amee said...

I just finished the review by skipping all the f-words. Maybe I'm slow or something but I just couldn't focus with reading it as it was written.

It's unfortunate if it's the same for the book but I still want to read it. I guess I will just skip the over-use of that word so I'm not totally lost on what's happening. :P

Anonymous said...

I think you're right on, Steph. I was expecting to love this book, and tried so hard to even make myself like it, and I couldn't. As I was reading, I wondered if it was because I'm a mom now that the swearing got to me (and I'm no stranger to four-letter words, either), but I guess not. You're right, it was unrealistic. I liked your review much more than the book.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Way to show and not tell :)

Unknown said...

I could care less about dropping the f-bomb, but that shit sounds like Juno and I hated Juno.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

I read this book because others were raving about it and knew it was going to be made into a movie, blah, blah, blah...

For such a short book I'm sad to say I skipped over half of it -- for instance I have no idea about the "teaching how to kiss" thing you mentioned, or whatever lesson or epiphany came about in the end. Though I did stumble across the pages where Norah was in the process of giving Nick a bj -- was she successful? I still don't know. I wondered if I should back track, search out a earlier section of the book to find a spot where mabye they held hands or had meaningful dialogue which might have lended itself to such a show of desire. But I didn't, because I decided I didn't care.

It just seemed to try so hard to be cool that it felt implausible. Not just the massive use of the F word, but all the rapid-fire dialogue and internal thoughts felt so forced that after awhile my brain felt violated. No one talks that cleverly ALL THE TIME, and at the same time, while I was dodging the bullets of words I kept waiting for a plot that didn't happen. By the way, I don't even NEED plot in a book, I'm all for characters, which is why this was a disappointment to me.

Kudos to the authors, anyway, not many YA books make it to the big screen, but I'm so grateful for this review because you just validated every thought I had about this book.

Tasha said...

So glad I'm not the only one not completely loving the book. While there are definitely good parts it just seems to drag for long points in time. Also the cursing did get to be a bit much.

Kelsey said...

I tried reading the book twice and still haven't finished it. I'm not one for cursing much, and this book was WAY overdone, so I have a book mark still stuck half-way through the book on my bookshelf.. But I found your review very amusing.

Anonymous said...

I laughed until I peed my pants reading this. True story!

Anonymous said...

I see you lowered the grade- was it cause of the no-neologisms from swearing thing?

Chelsea said...

Steph! I love you, girl, but I'm disagreeing on this one. I didn't like it in the beginning, but midway through it grew on me. How can you not like the quirkiness of it? Like, seriously? They went to see pole-dancing nuns! Who comes up with that shit? I loved it.

I do agree with you, though, on the fact that it'll make a better movie. Well, it seems like it. I'll have to wait and see it first.

But a D?

Lisa Schroeder said...

hahahaha - this post made me LAUGH!

I liked the book. Not my most fave ever, but I liked it. I liked the movie too.

Chelsie said...

Way to be honest in your review =D I agree with pretty much everything you said that you didn't like, but I still found the book to be hilarious and likable. So I disagree with the bad review, but I like the way you reviewed it =D

Vanessa ( said...

I LOVE your honesty, Steph, and of course the maestro way your review was written. (How come reviewers don't really curse? I curse so much more on a normal basis than on my book blog. Okay, I need to let it all go... FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK!)

Anyway, I disagree. I liked it a lot. They did curse, but I don't remember it being THAT much that it distracted me. I loved all the crazy things they did. And I did think they had a connection.
It was spontaneous, or at least to me.

I do agree, however, that it would make a better movie.

Have you read Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel & David?


Post a Comment

Hey! For some reason, this embedded comment form makes most people click twice before the comment is processed and published. It's not you - it's just that it's a new Blogger feature with kinks and all that. (But I adore it and don't wanna get rid of it!) I removed Captcha to make the process easier. You don't have to rewrite the comments twice; just click on SUBMIT twice and it should work. If not, email me. Thanks! -Steph