Book Review: Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Nick, teenage boy and bassist in an average queercore band, looks down from the stage one night and sees his newly-ex-girlfriend, Tris in the crowd. He can’t bear the thought of having to exchange greetings with her and the guy she is standing with, so he turns to the girl next to him, and asks her to pretend to be his girlfriend for the next five minutes.

Norah has a lot on her own mind – her future, music, her own Evil Ex – and if it were just her she had to look after, she’d tell Nick where to go, but he might have a van or a car, and she needs to get her drunken friend Caroline home in one piece…

My first ebook! I really liked this, it was just the kind of YA book I’d have loved as a teenager – people, cooler than me, having relationship issues and new romances, swearing a lot, and participating in makeout scenes that give those in Diary of a Crush a real run for their money! Phew!

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, as you might expect, is told from the alternating perspectives of Nick and Norah. I preferred Nick’s narration, as I expected. I’ve read solo books by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan before and I like David Levithan’s writing more. But even though I didn’t like her narration quite as much, Norah was still an interesting character with an enjoyable voice.

Both Nick and Norah tell their stories in a style that is very stream-of-consciousness, and at times I found this hard to follow, especially as the whole story takes place over the course of one night/day and the pace varies a lot. Every now and then I’d have to stop, go back a few pages and re-read to remind myself what was physically going on.

I really liked the secondary characters. There’s a whole cast of weird and wonderful individuals who show up, disappear, and re-appear throughout the novel. I loved that although Tris seems pretty horrible at first, nicer sides to her personality are revealed later on.

I saw the film adapation of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, with Michael Cera and Kat Dennings (object of much girlcrushing) a few years ago and really liked it. The book is quite different – the film has more of a plot beside the romance – but they are both enjoyable in their own right.