Over the course of one night, two perfect strangers fall in and out of love with life, music, friends, cars, food, the city, and maybe - just maybe - each other.
The book is many things: Honest. Engrossing. Funny. Daring. Most of all, it feels real. The teenage characters talk and act like teenagers. For example, Nick is a self-proclaimed straight-edge boy; he doesn't smoke, drink, or do drugs. That doesn't stop him from swearing, nor does it stop him doing things on impulse, as evidenced by the first thing he ever says to Norah.
The rapid-fire dialogue and the quirky narration move the story along quickly. Combine these elements with the overnight plot and you get a story that feels as if it is moving along in real time. Readers are along for the ride, watching things as they happen.
And oh, what a ride. Nick and Norah tell their story in alternating chapters, with David Levithan writing for bass player Nick and Rachel Cohn writing for complicated Norah. I already thought well of the authors based on their previous works (most notably, Levithan's Boy Meets Boy and Cohn's Gingerbread and The Steps) so I had rather high expectations for this book. Not only did it meet those expectations but it exceeded them. This only elevated my opinion of the authors.
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist is fueled by passionate, memorable characters. Don't let it - or them - pass you by. Get it, get ready, and hold on. You'll want to put this Playlist on repeat.
View my chapter-by-chapter playlist for the book.
I discussed the book at length with Jackie in this roundtable post.
I have had the honor of interviewing the authors of Nick & Norah twice - once in 2006 and again in 2007.
If you liked Nick & Norah, you'll also like Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway.