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Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List Paperback – August 26, 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—A witty and highly entertaining exploration of love, friendship, and misunderstanding. Like Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist (Knopf, 2006), the story is told from alternating points of view and is about teens living in Manhattan. Gorgeous Naomi and her best friend, the equally gorgeous and gay Ely, have been neighbors and soul mates since childhood, and in order to protect their relationship, they have created a list of people who are absolutely off limits for kissing. The list is meant to be "insurance against a Naomi and Ely breakup," but when Ely kisses Naomi's boyfriend Bruce the Second, it sets off a chain of events that causes a major rift in their longstanding relationship. As the story progresses, Naomi comes to realize that the true reason she is so upset with Ely is not so much that he is romantically involved with her former boyfriend as it is that she has finally acknowledged that things are never going to turn out the way she has envisioned them. Major and minor characters begin new relationships and redefine old ones. The themes of sexual exploration and sexual identity, as well as strong language, which is entirely appropriate for the characters and setting, make this a book for older teens, who will love the oh-so-hip music and pop-culture references. They will also love the main characters, who are smart and sophisticated college freshmen, but also very fallible, and will empathize with their confusion as they attempt to sort out their relationships and themselves.—Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

NYU freshmen Naomi and Ely have been BFF's since the cradle. Their friendship has even survived an affair between Naomi's dad and one of Ely's moms. But all that changes when Ely impetuously kisses Bruce, Naomi's boyfriend. When Bruce decides he wants to be with Ely, Naomi is forced to confront the romantic feelings she's always had for her best friend, despite their shared preference for boys. Naomi's chapters are littered with icons that are more distracting than engaging, but teens will be be burning the CD playlists swapped between characters even before the book ends. Told in a chorus of first-person voices, including Naomi and Ely as well as friends who are forced to choose sides, this loquacious relationship tale will date quickly, but that won't keep the authors' legions of fans from wanting it yesterday. What is timeless is Ely's hard won epiphany: "Things that matter are not easy . . . Saying you're friends is easy. Being friends is not." Hubert, Jennifer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ember; Reprint edition (2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375844414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375844416
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #316,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Cohn and Levithan team up once more and hit the streets of New York with a new cast of tangible, expressive teens. Not as good as Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist (but let's be honest, how can you get much better than Nick and Norah?), but still an amazing story in its own right, Naomi and Ely found an honored spot on my YA bookshelf.

Naomi and Ely thought they were totally safe with their No Kiss List. Naomi can ogle every hot guy she sees and still save herself for when Ely realizes they are meant to be together, and Ely can be the biggest flirt in gaydom as long as he doesn't lip lock with the guys Naomi likes to ogle. But they never thought to put Naomi's straight boyfriend on the list. So Naomi is crushed that they guy she loves and a guy she is totally in like with both leave her for each other.

Beware, this book is not for young readers--there is a maturity to the characters and the issues that is not appropriate for young teens. But the book is great fun to read with loads of laugh-out-load funny parts (i.e. when Robin-Boy asks his buddy what a girl who you want to spend time with, think is totally cute but don't want to sleep with is called, and his buddy introduces him to the term "friend"). The characters are amazingly relatable, and the message of loving and moving on is poignant.

Even if they do dis Bon Jovi, this book belongs on any college freshman's bookshelf and the songs on every iPod's playlist. Cohn and Levithan make one great writing team. (And their stand-alone books aren't bad either.)
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Format: Hardcover
I have mixed feelings on this book...

So, Naomi and Ely have been best friends forever, Naomi loves Ely, Ely loves boys. They have a very unique relationship and I was never quite sure whether Ely had always known Naomi loved him or not. So, the No Kiss List is a list they have of boys neither of them is allowed to kiss in case it might ruin their friendship and cause them to break up. Bruce #2, Naomi's boyfriend, was not on the list and Ely kissed him, leading to the big blow up that this book is.

My biggest problem with this book is I didn't like the characters all that much. I liked Ely more than Naomi, and he really grew on me as the book progressed, but I hated Naomi. Naomi is selfish and just mean, everything was her fault and she acted like it was the end of the world and all Ely's fault when she literally caused all the problems! She used people, mainly Bruce #1, and never really cared even when it was pointed out to her. My biggest problem with her is even though it was supposed to be that she has this big revelation towards the end and she's grown oh so much, I never felt like she grew or changed at all. Ely went through a lot of character growth and change throughout the book and it felt so much more real.

Side character wise, I feel like the book would have been so much better with more Bruce #1 and #2 chapters along with more Robin(male and female) chapters. The side characters were the best. You have Bruce #1 who's been in love with Naomi forever even though she's clearly not worth it. Bruce #2 who was dating Naomi but was never in love with her and is falling in love for the first time with another boy when he'd never before thought even for a second that he might be gay(or bi).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really loved this author-duo's "Dash & Lily's Book of Dares" to which I gave five stars. This one -- not so much.

The two leading characters live in the same apartment building in Manhattan and both are victims of broken marriages. One of Ely's two moms had an affair with Naomi's dad -- who then walked out leaving her mother depressed and devastated. Ely's moms stayed together.

Naomi and Ely are closer than most siblings and Naomi has an immature fantasy that one day they will marry -- despite the fact that Ely is flamboyantly and unapologetically gay. When Ely is attracted to Naomi's current boyfriend -- one of two characters in the book named Bruce -- Naomi ends their friendship leaving them both miserable. The rest of the book consists of everyone learning to come to terms with who they really are and accepting others for who they are and learning to get along and love one another etc etc.

This book has its moments of wit. The authors' love of language once again comes through. But it's needlessly confusing with the multiple narrative voices and the characters struck me as a bit too knowing. At one point in the novel, someone makes the point that Manhattanites are different from the rest of the country -- and maybe the rest of the world -- in their knowing sophistication and premature world-weariness.

These kids, it struck me, had all grown up too fast, too soon. They were masquerading as characters in a sleek, sophisticated novel instead of having real lives. There was someone overly theatrical about the dilemmas they invented for themselves. While Dash and Lily had a wonderful, optimistic innocence about them and a thirst to discover the world, the characters of this book seemed to know it all -- before it had even happened.
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