Nick is the bassist in a reasonably successful NYC high-school band. He spots his ex-girlfriend with another guy after a gig, and he has this to say:
I am the old model and this is the new model and I could crash out a year’s worth of time on my bass and nothing, absolutely nothing, would change.
She sees me. She can’t fake surprise at seeing me here, because of course she fucking knew I’d be here. So she does a little smile thing and whispers something to the new model and I can just tell from her expression that after they get their now-being-poured drinks they are going to come over and say hello and good show and — could she be so stupid and cruel? — how are you doing? And I can’t stand the thought of it. I see it all unfolding and I know I have to do something — anything — to stop it.
So I, this random bassist in an average queercore band, turn to this girl in flannel who I don’t even know and say:
“I know this is going to sound strange, but would you mind being my girlfriend for the next five minutes?”
And the rest is just as delightful and weird and thrilling (oh, so very thrilling). Rachel Cohn writes Norah’s chapters, and David Levithan writes for Nick, which gives both characters deeper authenticity. They both comfortably and realistically address teenage sexuality – straight and GLBT.
My take: These authors got it precisely right; Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a perfect story of roaming around all night with Someone Significant. I’d love to get to know Nick and Norah and all their cohorts (even Tris, who doesn’t seem all that nice but may have a little more depth than we give her credit for). The whole thing is laced with true love and music and heartbreak and putting it back together, and I would very much like to live inside this book.
I’d read Levithan’s work before (Boy Meets Boy, see below) and found it excellent. I’m adding Rachel Cohn to my must-read list. I like the fact that this book doesn’t get wrapped up in histrionics; everything that happens in the end is reasonable, where it could have gone wildly astray.
- David Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy is a different kind of could-this-be-love story, hilarious and heartbreaking and sometimes unexpected. This guy writes WELL, and you should seek out his work.
- Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List is the second Cohn-Levithan collaboration. I expect it’s fabulous. 🙂
- NickandNorah.com . ‘Nuff said.
- FAQ for Rachel Cohn & David Levithan in collaboration.
- Nick and Norah have been made into a movie which is kind of drastically different from the book. Looks like fun (based on the trailer), and I am moving it to the top of my queue RIGHT NOW, but it doesn’t actually appear to be quite the same story. Also I am totally unsure of Michael Cera; I really think Nick is a brunette. 🙂
Cover image from powells.com.