I saw the film of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist several years ago and was distinctly unimpressed. I had no idea that it had been a book first.
I found it in my local library last week, and saw that it had been co-authored by David Levithan with Rachel Cohn. I rate David Levithan’s work, so I decided to give it a try.
If you like his writing, and the themes he chooses to talk about, you will like this. If you like quirky, slightly odd ball romances, which may be slightly emo based (if I am getting my teen tribe names right), this will be right up your street.
It is most emphatically for the older teen market. I would not put it in a primary or middle school library, as it deals with LGBT relationships as well as straight ones, and is fairly frank in its discussion and depiction of sex.
If however, you are looking for books for your high school library, or something to engage teen girls in particular, this might be the book for you.
I thought it was charming, to be honest. I love the fact that this genre of teen fiction allows for romance across all types of sexual persuasion with no value judgements in place. It accepts that this is the world which normal teenagers inhabit. It is ok with the fact that they might be heterosexual, or gay, or bi, or just plain confused.
It is not a polemic, by the way. It is a sweet, love story about a guy and a girl who have been messed around by their previous partners, and who are damaged and shy and yet who manage to share a fantastic night together, despite numerous misunderstandings and the general failure to communicate that plagues most relationships whatever their bias and however long they have been established.
I loved the fact that Nick still makes mix tapes. For me, this was the most delightful part of the book. I am of an age where making a mix tape for someone was the highest accolade one person could give another and was a definite statement of love/lust. In my mind, nothing more romantic has ever been invented since.
The story is written from both Nick and Norah’s point of view, each taking an alternate chapter to describe the events of the night. I loved this way of narrating things, because you got a real sense of the dynamic of the relationship and how it was unfolding.
Despite this dual narrative, I still think this is a book that is going to appeal to girls for the most part, which is a shame, but there you go.