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Confessions of a Bibliophile

An aspiring writer and bookstore employee with an incredibly bad book-buying habit... I'll read just about anything (so long as it will appeal to my interests in some way), but my main loves are YA and sci-fi/fantasy. I also like quirky history and science books and will book nerd. A lot. Currently in the process of weeding out my personal library. Find me on Twitter @princess_starr or check out my YA book, Snowfall, on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240027

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn, David Levithan I mentioned in my review for Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List that the thing I like about Cohn and Leviathan’s collaborations is that they’re able to take these self-involved characters, who I would normally hate on, and make them into relatable characters that I want to root for and see them get their happy-ish ending. Of course, it’s a little harder with the titular characters of this book. Not that I didn’t end up rooting for them to get together by the end, but there’s not as much growth to either one throughout the course of the book. (Yes, I know, I go off on characterization, but that’s a big thing for me when I read a book.) Nick doesn’t really move on beyond from the music geek, Michael Cera-esque leading man (is it any surprise that’s who played him in the movie?). He’s got some great snark moments, but falls back too much on his mopey, self-loathing self. Norah’s really not much better—she’s more self-absorbed than any of the other characters, going on about how much better she is than some of her friends, and still beats herself up for making a stupid mistake with her ex. However, Norah does at least learn to get over herself by the end of the book, and she does soften up after spending a whole night together with Nick.The dual narration also adds another interesting perspective to each character’s respective development. I’ve mentioned the Manic Pixie Dream Girl (or Person, in this case) archetype in another review, and both main characters fit this characterization…when the chapter’s not in their personal narration. From Nick’s point of view, Norah fulfills the MPDG type, as he thinks she’s this incredibly hot girl who befriends band geeks and drag queens, and is a bit of a bitch. And when we get Norah’s view of Nick, he’s pretty much the music geek’s dream boy who sits around writing deep song lyrics that speak to her soul (which…yeah, not really. His lyrics are better than average, if you ask me. Ymmv.) They both end up subverting the MDPP type because of the dual narration, which makes the book more interesting.There’s no real depth to most of the side characters. Correction, no real depth to the male side characters. Dev and Thom don’t really do much aside from playing the supportive best friends who encourage Norah to free their “little straight edge straight boy.” I do get the sense that Nick is genuinely friends with them, although I would have liked to have seen more of their relationship at work. Caroline, at times, feels like a one-note joke character (having seen the movie, I know she’s pretty much the joke character), and while Norah gives us more insight into Caroline’s non-wasted self, I wish there had been more of that in the current timeline of the book. Surprisingly, I grew to sympathize with Tris. She’s set up to be this complete bitch—she’s the one who broke Nick’s heart, she’s always hanging around Caroline and Norah, she sleeps around on guys; by normal YA standards, we should hate her. However. There’s a lot of moments that make me feel for Tris, and like Norah, can see the side of her that’s a true friend. Yes, I think she should be called out for a lot of her actions, and her reasons for dating and subsequently dumping Nick feel like a load of bull. But she still manages to be a surprising character, and that’s why I ended up liking her just a little.And I wouldn’t be giving the book a fair review if I didn’t get into the other big character—New York City. The city plays such a large role in the book that it does feel like the silent third main lead, leading Nick and Norah on this all night journey. There’s a realistic feeling to the city that both Cohn and Leviathan really capture throughout the novel’s course: I feel like I’m in the greasy Polish diner or in one of the many clubs the characters frequent all in one night. It doesn’t feel like the characters are name-dropping places and landmarks for the sake of establishment, but instead, it helps a reader like me, who’s never been to NYC, feel like I’m actually walking alongside these characters. While it’s not a perfect novel, there’s just something about Nick & Norah... that makes me love it. Sure, it’s about self-centered suburban white kids with problems. But both Leviathan and Cohn manage to make them into actual characters that we end up caring about, even if their fling feels like it may or may not last the night. Fantastic read.