Monday, September 16, 2013

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

3 Stars

What happens when Nick's ex-girlfriend shows up while he’s trying to have a decent night?  He makes quick introductions to Norah and strikes a deal to be each other’s date for the next 5 minutes.  Add in a sighting of Norah's ex-boyfriend and the 5 minutes extend little by little into an all night getting-to-know you and maybe falling a little bit in love experience.

This book has a certain writing style that should just drive me mad.  It’s. So. Abrupt. Halting. Aggressive. Angry. Confused.  Generally I’d want to pull my hair out while reading these half-sentence snippets, but somehow for “Nick and Norah” they work.  They work because Nick and Norah are aggressive. angry. confused.  Hell, they’re teenagers, of course they are all of the above (and more).  Yes, the idea that these two high school kids with never-ending witty repartee are the hippest hipsters to ever graced the streets of Manhattan is not believable.  The fact that she’s brilliant and he’s in a super-hot punk band before ever graduating high school and none of their parents care that they wander New York all night is utterly unfathomable.  And yet?  Who f-ing cares?  The book is adorable.  Levithan and Cohn are a great partnership (taking a silver medal to Levithan and John Green’s collaboration in “Will Grayson Will Grayson”).  “Nick and Norah” was a total easy reader that made me feel good while reading it. 

Things I loved:  (1) The simple fact that this book embraces the idea that a soundtrack plays behind it.  I’m ALWAYS hearing the potential songs that would play if such and such book were actually a movie.  (2) Cohn and Levithan are REALLY good at using the “F” word.  (3) Songs like “Ride Like the Wind” are included so old geezers such as myself realize their fave songs are still valid.

Things that I didn’t love: (1) Nick quotes “no one puts baby in a corner”, but a few chapters later has no idea who Johnny Castle is.  Really?  Nitpicky, I know, but it irked me.  (2) Thought the last one was nitpicky?  It gets even worse.  Thank God I’m a loyalist to books, because the casting of Nick in the movie version is absolutely unforgiveable and I WILL NOT ever watch the film now.

This, my friends, is NOT Nick.  This is George Michael Bluth.  Oh, you may have seen him in Juno or Superbad or Year One or Scott Pilgrim, but if you haven’t seen Arrested Development just trust me that he’s always THE SAME FREAKING CHARACTER.  He’s not some hot rock star.  He’s George Michael Bluth.

This is Jordan Catalono.  He was the desire of every girl I knew when I was growing up and after reading this book and the many references to "My So-Called Life" I’m fairly certain the same can be said for Rachel Cohn (and probably David Levithan as well).  The movie Nick should have looked more like this.

Needless to say, if those are my two big complaints (one of which is about the movie rather than the book), this was probably a pretty decent read.

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