Review: Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Nick and NorahNick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Author: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Publisher: Ember
Age Group: Teen
Source: Library
Good Reads  |  Amazon
Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads:

It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City—and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.

This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be—and where the next great band is playing.

Told in alternating chapters, teeming with music references, humor, angst, and endearing side characters, this is a love story you’ll wish were your very own. Working together for the first time, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have combined forces to create a book that is sure to grab readers of all ages and never let them go.

My Thoughts

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist has been on my TBR list since I saw the first trailer for the movie years ago.  I never did manage to read the book or see the movie, though.  I still haven’t seen the movie (I plan on it soon), but now I’ve finally read the book.  What finally pushed me to read this one?  David Levithan will be at the Rochester Teen Book Fest, and so will I (although in different capacities).  Anyway, this book wasn’t quite what I was expecting, and I didn’t liked it as much as I expected, either.  I mean, I did like it, but I definitely didn’t love it.

Okay, so this book is told in alternating POVs between Nick (chapters written by Levithan) and Norah (chapters written by Cohn).  I really liked seeing the same scene through each characters’ eyes, because they both saw it a little differently.  I definitely had a preference on chapters, though.  I liked Nick’s chapters better, as well as his character.

Norah grated on my nerves quite a bit.  She’s always calling girls “bitches,” which maybe she doesn’t mean in a negative way, but it didn’t really endear me to her.  She sort of tears down Nick’s Ex, but then you find out later that they are kind of friends.  Not close friends, but certainly not enemies or anything.  This is a personal preference thing, though.  I get frustrated seeing girls tear each other down, even in books.  It’s not as simple as that, of course.  And towards the end, I really did end up liking Norah, but man, I had a hard time understanding what Nick might have seen in her at first.  Now Nick was a pretty great character.  He seemed like a genuinely nice guy.  A little obsessed with his ex, but hey, I can remember feeling that way when I was that age.

One thing that I did have a hard time with was all the music parts.  I mean, I love music (who doesn’t), but I have never been so “lost” in a song or band, and a lot of the descriptions of that I just couldn’t relate to.  I bet a lot of people can relate to that part of the book, and probably know exactly what feeling Levithan and Cohn were talking about.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite grasp that feeling.

It’s a short book, with less than two hundred pages.  It was a fairly quick read, although not as quick as I thought.  That may be due to the fact that I wasn’t completely engrossed in the stories or the characters.  But even though I didn’t love Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist as much as I thought I would, I did still enjoy this story.  They characters are well-developed, but also they seemed like real teens.  If you haven’t read this, I recommend you give it a chance.

About Quinn

I'm a twenty-something children's librarian at a public library in Central New York. I've long left my teen years behind me, but I love to read YA and children's books. I have two adorable dogs. Ginger is a mix between a poodle and havanese, and Daphne is Bichon Frise. Other things I love: Favorite Movie: Singing in the Rain Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Favorite TV Show: Monk
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12 Responses to Review: Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

  1. Great review, Quinn. I haven’t actually read this one, I saw the movie and I would probably rate the film the way you’ve rated the novel. It was good, but didn’t quite blow me away, and Norah was pretty irritating 🙂 Although I’m a Kat Dennings fan, and guess she must have nailed the character traits intended by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

  2. I haven’t read the book, but have seen the movie. Didn’t realize it was a book til just a couple years ago! I remember enjoying the movie, it was cute, but didn’t blow me away. I do remember feeling very intimidated by Norah… like in a “omg will this girl shut up” kind of way. Anywho… I do want to read this one! Hopefully soon!

  3. Interesting I’ve seen the movie but haven’t thought about reading the book. I didn’t know the authors switch off

  4. I’ve seen the movie and thought it was kind of fun, but it didn’t leave me wanting more or anything. It’s a relaxing sort of movie. I do want to read this though, but I keep hearing the same thing about the book that I felt for the movie so I haven’t quite yet. I’m sorry it didn’t quite capture you like you wanted

  5. Hi! i watched this movie a long time ago, and I didn’t fall in love with it. (I was expecting to like it as much as Juno, but that did not happen.) This was before I knew who David Levithan was! I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one so much, esp. after it was on your TBR for so long. Sometimes I wonder if some writing partnerships don’t work as well as others? I really loved Will Grayson but wasn’t as psyched about Book of Dares… hm.

    Thanks for the review, as always!

  6. Very insightful review, Quinn! I’ve had this one on my TBR for a really long time too (and the move is on my watchlist) I like that it’s a quick read and that Nick was so likeable! I think Norah’s attitude towards other girls would grate on my nerves too though…regardless I still want to give it a try, so thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. I got this from a galley and it’s been sitting on my TBR for awhile..I saw the movie and didn’t love it so was hoping to like the book more..maybe it can wait a bit!

  8. I’ve seen the movie, but only a couple of months ago did I find out this was a book. I’ve been meaning to read it, but if Norah is as irritating in the book as she was in the movie, I think I’ll skip it. Girls calling other girls “bitches” every chance they get bore me. Anyway, great review!

  9. annieding07 says:

    I loved Nick and Norah but I agree with you – I was completely lost with the music! And Norah was annoying but she, as with Trish and everyone else, grew on me. Overall though, I did really like the book. It’s probably one of my all-time faves because for some reason, it just clicked for me. I felt like I UNDERSTOOD even though I’d likelier be doused in honey than experience the whirlwind romance Nick and Norah had.

  10. Book Blather says:

    Sorry you didn’t love this one, It’s actually a favourite of mine, I love the style of prose (music action especially lol). Hope you have better luck with your next read!

  11. Alexandra says:

    I think I was a bit more ambivalent about this one than you – I found that I struggled with the amount of swearing that there was – more so than I was expecting, because usually I’m not overly fazed by that kind of thing – and so many of the music references went right over my head, because while I like music, I don’t have very wide-ranging musical tastes, so I so often didn’t have a clue who they were talking about, which sucked. But I did like how passionate THEY were about it all. 🙂 I totally agree with you on the characters, I definitely prefered Nick, and Norah took a while to grow on me too.

  12. Tabitha S. says:

    I actually really enjoyed this one, but hte one thing that I didn’t enjoy was all of the swearing. It’s like who even talks like that?!

    You should definitely check out Dash and Lily!! It’s a much more enjoyable story – well I think it is. 🙂

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