Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
October 8, 2008 in Cohn, Rachel, Levithan, David, Young Adult Novels Tags: bands, David Levithan, hobbies, journal writing, music, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Rachel Cohn, voice, word choice, ya novel, young adult novel, Yugo
Reviewed by Margo Dill, www.margodill.com, email@example.com
Young adult novel, contemporary
A teenage boy and a teenage girl as main characters
Rating: Refreshing ya novel with incredible timing, pacing, and voice!
Short, short summary: Told in both Nick and Norah’s POV, this novel starts with an interesting premise and a pick-up line that I’m sure many guys have tried using after reading this book. Nick sees his ex, Tris, and wants to make her jealous. So, he asks Norah to be his girlfriend for the next five minutes–except Norah does more than that. She doesn’t give him a yes or no–she just kisses him. Turns out that Nick’s ex is a “friend” of Norah’s, and Norah already knows all about him. The rest of the novel is the all-night adventure and love story of Nick and Norah, who are both trying to get over relationships that are no good for them. These two lovable, interesting, and unique teenagers don’t drink or smoke or do drugs. They are extremely attracted to each other, but they decide to wait to have sex. Okay, I make them sound perfect, and they almost are. But since Cohn and Levithan are brilliant writers, they do make Nick and Norah’s favorite word the “f” word–realistically and part of the characters’ voices. With the movie out, many teens will be reading this book for the first time or over and over again. This is a great book for independent reading!
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Many teens will want to make their own “infinite playlist” when they finish reading this book. Some teens do this already on a regular basis with their MP3 players–they have all their favorite songs or songs that mean something to them programmed and ready to listen to at any time. At the beginning of this book, Cohn and Levithan made their acknowledgement page a playlist (very clever.) In a journal, ask students to make a playlist for the people in their lives. What song would they dedicate to their best friend? Their pet? Their siblings? Their parents? and so on.
2. Nick and Norah’s voices are unique. A section of this book can be read aloud, and the listener can tell whose chapter the section is in by the voice of the character without the reader telling them. When your students or your teen write stories, encourage them to write with a unique voice. Discuss with them what makes a unique voice. What word choice does Norah use that Nick wouldn’t? How can they tell it is Norah’s voice? Why do the authors make some sections have long sentences and other sections have short, choppy sentences? Using real literature to study writing techniques, especially literature teens love, also improves their writing skills.
3. Nick and Norah are passionate about music. This comes across in what they do, what they talk about, and where they spend their time. Ask your students or your teen to write about what they are passionate about. If it is music, how are they like Nick and Norah? If it is basketball or movies, ask them to write down information that someone who doesn’t share their passion might not know.
If you have used this book with your teen or your students, please leave a comment here and let us know how it went.
If you have a suggestion of a book for me to read and review, please leave a comment here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
photo by nerdabella www.flickr.com