Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Almost Exceeds the Cool Quotient

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Published by Ember
3 Out of 5 Stars

Nick and Norah meet in a punk rock club one night when Nick asks Norah to be his 5 minute girlfriend. Why? Because Nick's ex, Tris, is in the club with her new man and Tris broke Nick's heart. From that point on, Nick and Norah recognize the chemistry between them, but their feelings are compromised by their previous relationships.

The book is okay. Just okay. Told in stream-of-consciousness chapters alternating between Nick's point of view and Norah's, some of it becomes repetitive (although this technique does allow the reader to see how each experienced and interpreted various situations differently). 

My main complaint: Nick and Norah are cool. Obnoxiously cool. They are so much smarter and edgier than everyone else and, here's the thing with characters like that, there are people who are genuinely edgy and cool and original--and then there are those who are trying too hard to be so. Nick and Norah fall into the "trying too hard" category. They make obscure cultural references (many of which seem to be more in keeping with the time period of the authors' teenage years and not so much today's teens; for instance, maybe the movie Heathers and the television show My So Called Life are still a big deal to today's teenage crowd, but I somehow doubt it), they have both have a single-minded devotion to on-the-fringe punk bands, and engage in endless fashion critiques regarding what a person's dress reveals about character. They're trying so hard I wonder if and when they'll ever have any fun in life.

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