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Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist Hardcover – May 23, 2006
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up What happens when two witty, wise, but vulnerable teens meet by accident at a chaotic punk rock club? They fall in love, of course. While both are dealing with the fallout of failed relationships and the infinite hurt that accompanies them, they are questioning everything about themselves, their friends, and their future paths. The passion and intelligence of these characters, along with the authors' intimate knowledge of and complete respect for their audience, make this novel unique. Told in alternating chapters over the course of a single night, the narratives create a fully fleshed-out picture of both teens, informed by their love of music, their devotion to their friends, and their clear-eyed view of the world. These kids don't drink or do drugs and it's solely their obsession with music that takes them to these clubs. One of Norah's relatives calls her a potty mouth, and that's no exaggeration. Throughout the book, the expletives fly fast and furious, but they are more about personal expression and in-your-face attitude than about strong emotions. Yet, there is also considerable depth and sensitivity. Norah explains the Jewish concept of tikkun olam the responsibility to heal a fractured world and Nick comes up with an original spin on it. There are many heart-stopping, insightful moments in this supremely satisfying and sexy romance. A first-rate read. Tracy Karbel, Glenside Public Library District, Glendale Heights, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 10-12. Cohn and Levithan contribute alternating chapters in this high-energy romance that follows two high-school seniors through a single, music-fueled night in Manhattan. Nick, the "nonqueer bassist in a queercore band," is playing with The Fuck Offs, when he spots his ex-girlfriend, Tris. Once offstage, he propositions a girl he has never met, hoping to make Tris jealous: "Would you mind being my girlfriend for five minutes?" Norah, also heartbroken (and hoping Nick will drive her home), agrees. What begins as a spontaneous ploy turns into something surprising and real in the course of one night as Nick and Norah roam Manhattan, listen to bands, confront past hurts, and hurtle toward romance. The real-time pacing may slow some readers, and a few Manhattan in-jokes ("Hunter from Hunter") may exclude teens in the wider world. Still, many readers will respond to the tough, clever, amped-up narratives, which include mosh-pit coarse language (Nick sound-checks the microphones with the words "Fuck. Shit. Cock," for example) and the characters' wild yearning for love, and music, which feels powerful and true. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
I read this book after really enjoying the movie and I wanted to see how it compared. It was a really cute read, with a fast plot it all happening in one night. It’s sweet, thoughtful and funny. Read below for more thoughts about this book!
The writing in this book is really lyrical. I love that it speaks into your mind and just seems really relatable. Every teenager has had a moment of adventure with someone, where it turns into someone or turns into nothing. This book highlights this and I just love that it takes hold of that. There are so many great quotes in this book too which deserve to be read.
I liked the changing chapter perspectives, it helped you get into the zone of reading which is really needed sometimes.
This book is easy to forget. Maybe it’s how fast I read it, or just the fact that some things bothered me while I read it but the book isn’t particularly memorable apart from the things I actually enjoyed. Some parts are really explicit and a bit unnecessary for my opinion especially with the amount of swearing. However, young people are explicit and swear so it’s not out of the ordinary.
I ummed and aahhed a lot about whether to rate it 3.5 or 4 stars and had to settle on 3.5.
I liked that the relationship that Nick had previously is not as big a part as the movie. I liked that there was a certain point that he kicked himself and got over it.
Anyone who likes a contemporary read, with a musical undertones in it.
Quotes (Spoiler Free):
“And don’t ever speak of The Beatles with such condescension again.”
“You’re cute. You know that?” she says. I have no idea what to say to that. So it just hangs in the air, until I finally say, “You’re just saying that to get me to take off my clothes and frolic in the fountain.”
“But I guess you don’t see the planets when you’re staring at the sun. You just get blinded.”
“Why do we even bother? Why do we make ourselves so open to such easy damage? Is it all loneliness? Is it all fear? Or is it just to experience those narcotic moments of belonging with someone else?”
I loved the novel, and am of the opinion that it is definitely the best of what Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written together. It is gritty, artsy and embodies the soul of New York and garage bands. The characters are all painted with bright colours and flaws making them all loveable in individual ways.
Norah’s dry sarcasm juxtaposes with being such an introvert, confidence is a big issue for her – and straight away creates conflict for nearly everything she does, making Norah a compelling character. Enter Nick, an all-around good guy seemingly out of his element. But that is just it – he’s not. He embodies the millennium man. Age, race, gender and sexual orientation mean little to Nick, as he takes everyone on face value and how they treat him. Together, they both appear to not belong to the club and music scene in New York, but on closer inspection embody the pulse of the industry. And it takes meeting and accepting each other to start realising their place and the start of their journey.
Although the narrative is witty, and such edgy symbolism is planted throughout, ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’ suffered from two of my biggest turn-offs in books: the flashback, and excessive embellishment of a scene (otherwise known as mental wanderings). I think if it hadn’t exceeded my expectations in all other areas I would have abandoned it early on.
It is a very quick read, but heavy on content. Also, being true to the contemporary genre it concludes in a way you can interpret it as an ending or not… you must read between the lines to get the most out of this book.
Yes, I did see the movie before I read the book. I love the movie so I thought I would read the book. It's a good book, but the plots vary more than I would have liked. There's stuff in the book that would have been great in the movie and vice versa. If I were to read the book first, I probably would have thought the movie was terrible and that it didn't follow the book.
The book never follows Norah's (kind of) infinite struggle to find Caroline. It also never talks about all the mishaps that Caroline gets into while Norah is looking for her. I loved that part of the movie. There's an entire restaurant scene in the book that I thought should have been in the movie.
They are both good in their own way, but not nearly as similar as they should have been.