by Rachel Cohn; David Levithan Book : Fiction : Secondary (senior high) school  |  1st Knopf trade pbk. ed
Love... true love!   (2008-12-09)
I meant to read this book before the movie came out, but seeing as I severely damaged a copy of the book (oh, the shame!) and didn't see the movie, I think it's okay that I didn't finish it until now. And I'm so happy that I finally did read it! Nick & Norah are two teens in the same night club - Nick performing in a band and Norah keeping an eye on her friend. When Nick spots his recent ex, he quickly asks Norah to be his 5-minute girlfriend and she responds by kissing him. The kiss sets off a night and a relationship that moves between true love and disaster.
I really appreciated a story that shows the way that relationships and romance can be seen so differently through two sets of eyes. The story is told in alternating chapters, Nick's written by David Levithan and Norah's by Rachel Cohn. For example, in one chapter, early in the night, Nick and Norah are sitting in another club and making small talk. Nick feels like they're really clicking, that he has answers for every one of her questions. Norah sees this exchange as him trying to guard himself with short answers to her prying questions. Their night continues this way, the two testing each other out, backing off, running, pursuing, and there's always just that urge to know each other. It's a messy relationship in more ways than one, but I feel like this was closer to real life than a lot of books.
On a side note, I really liked the way Tris (Nick's ex) came in and out of the story and became a very different character as we got to know her. Yes, she's a b*tch, but she helps Norah in ways her best friend never has.
I know that the language really puts some people off. Yes, it's excessive. And I think it's totally appropriate for this book, this setting, and these characters. This is a book for more mature readers -- and by that, I don't mean adults. I think this is a book that teens will appreciate for the authentic way it depicts its characters. The risque moments are tempered with reflections that (paraphrasing) a relationship like this has a lot of starts and stops, and will eventually get to its destination, so why rush it? Basically, this is a love story, maybe a microcosm of a relationship, and I think both authors do an incredible job.
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