I need your opinion…

h1 September 22nd, 2006 by eisha

Nick & Norah's Infinite PlaylistWanna play God? Here’s your chance: by entering a simple blog comment, YOU may determine whether or not I finish this book. And you’ve probably never even met me!

Here’s the deal. I started Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan a few days ago, because it sounded like something I’d dig and it got such raving reviews, esp. on other blogs. But… I’m 84 pages in and I’m still waiting for it to grab me. Is it just me? Do I need to give it more time? Will it be worth it?

Here’s what I think so far:

• The concept. I love the whole one-night-relationship idea, and the real-time aspect. I also like the he-said/she-said thing, and the collaboration of two different writers taking on the two characters (I loved Sorcery and Cecelia, for ex.).
• The music. I think the punk crowd is underrepresented in teen fiction – or let me rephrase… I don’t think teen fiction often does a good job at representing the punk crowd when it tries. And I was a music-obsessed teen myself back in the day, and I love books that reflect that scene (see my King Dork review, for ex.).
• The cover. Bitchin’.

• Character motivation. The fact that these characters have just met each other, and have at this point in the novel set out on their own, means that we are only seeing them through their own eyes, and those of a complete stranger. This is making it hard to get any good character development going. So we keep seeing Norah do something that from Nick’s p.o.v. makes no sense, and we don’t necessarily get a good explanation from Norah either when we switch back to her voice.
• Different authorial voices. Not always a good match. No offense to Rachel Cohn, who is just fine on her own, but David Levithan is kind of writing circles around her at this point.
• Repetition. Something happens, and then we switch to the other character’s voice and see it happen again. Makes for slow going, esp. since this is taking place in real time. Real time twice. Real time squared. You get the idea.

Okay, I leave it up to you. If any of you have read it, please chime in. If I haven’t been convinced by Monday, I’m moving on to the next one in my Pisa-sized stack of books on my coffee table.

My fate is in your hands…

12 comments to “I need your opinion…”

  1. Read it. Read it. Read it.

    The absolution of Nick ALONE is worth it, not to mention a few lovely songs, dancin’ in the rain, and a great ending.

  2. P.S. I’ve started a list of Sassy Sidekicks of Children’s Literature. Come play!


  3. My arbitrary cut off is 100 pages. If it hasn’t grabbed me, then it isn’t my thing. There are so many excellent books to read and review, you just have to accept that, sometimes, a certain book just isn’t for you. No matter how good it is.

    Only exception was “Shadowmancer,” which I just had to quit reading at page 38.

  4. Hey E,

    What I usually go by: “No one should ever finish a book they’re not enjoying, no matter how popular or well reviewed the book is.” (The Rule of Fifty: “If you still don’t like a book after slogging through the first 50 pages, set it aside.”)–Nancy Pearl.

    84 pages? You’ve done your time.


  5. I’d have to agree with Bill, though I’m still always very hard on myself when I do put a book down, believing strongly in the power of redemption — in this case, that the book might redeem itself in the end or really end up being kick-ass.

    My ambiguity is of no help, I’m sure. Welcome to my brain.

  6. I thought Rachel Cohn’s writing improved as the book went on….

  7. What did you decide?

  8. well, so far i count 2 for finishing, one for giving it a 16 more pages, and 2 for dropping it.

    that’s pretty much a tie. ack! i’ll give it to the end of the day to make a final decision, in case someone else chimes in to swing the vote.

  9. okay, then. the decision is: i will give it another chance, at least to page 100.

    thanks for your input!

  10. With all the wonderful reading to discover in other books, why torture yourself when a diamond in the rough could be discoveredbetween
    other book covers?

  11. Well, I gotta know… did you ever end up liking it???

  12. hey, is that the abby i think it is? if so, hello!

    er, um… still haven’t picked it up again. see, while i was waiting, i started a couple of other books, like Peter and the Shadow Thieves, and Fly By Night, and i… yeah, okay, i’ll start it again tomorrow.

Leave a Comment

Should you have trouble posting, please contact sevenimp_blaine@blaine.org. Thanks.