BOOK TALK: Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by: Rachel Cohn + David Levithan

 “I shouldn’t want the song to end. I always think of each night as a song. Or each moment as a song. But now I’m seeing we don’t live in a single song. We move from song to song, from lyric to lyric, from chord to chord. There is no ending here. It’s an infinite playlist.”

Nick+Norah

Two things I love: Michael Cera + thematic playlists. With that being said, it was only a matter of time before I read this book. A big shout out to my mom for gifting it to me this Christmas so that I could finally cross it off the list.

With the story taking place over the course of one night, this was an easy yet fulfilling read. My favorite aspect of this book is the alternating perspectives of Nick + Norah. This is what makes Rachel + David’s books so unique. They each write the inner monologue of the two main characters by alternating each chapter’s perspective. All the while still managing to move the story forward instead of backtracking each character’s experience of the same moment.

This allowed me to get to know the characters more vividly. I was eager to move forward on their journey and I genuinely felt the connection happen by experiencing both sides.

Perhaps the most romantic character in this book is New York City. The idea of growing up in that exciting environment is so far removed from anything I experienced in my teenage years. With that said, it is to be expected that these characters are far more cultured, mature, + witty than your average teen from Middle of Nowhere, USA.

However, something everyone can relate to are those nights of spontaneity. Those magical happenings in life of meeting someone new that you instantly connect with. The butterflies take over and you never want the conversation to end. This person is real and they exist and you just can’t believe it.

What better way to illustrate that connection forming than passionate expressions of tastes in music and endless banter of references that you hope the other person will pick up on? It’s my idea of a perfect and very genuine love story. I just felt richer after experiencing it through Nick + Norah’s eyes.

Major differences from the movie: 

  1. Nick actually asks Norah to be his “5 minute girlfriend”.
  2. Finding Where’s Fluffy is not a quest. Where’s Fluffy is their favorite band who does a surprise show at the club they’re at. This takes place in the middle of the book; not the conclusion.
  3. Tris is actually a likable character. In the movie, she’s portrayed as very “black & white”. In the book, she’s much more complex, especially in her relationship with Norah. She actually helps Nick and Norah to connect by having genuine “1 on 1” moments with both of them. She’s down to earth and interesting. To be honest, I can barely watch the scenes with Tris in the movie because her character is so predictably annoying. I’d say this was the most significant difference for me as it made the story much more interesting and layered.
  4. They don’t lose Caroline. She makes it home to Norah’s safely. Which disturbingly means that the screenwriters thought up that disgusting scene where she pukes in an aluminum public toilet and then proceeds to dig for her gum in it. GROSS, GUYS!
  5. Nick is a shameless and hopeless lyricist. This is his coping mechanism. In the movie, we see him relying on other’s music to express himself — still a huge aspect of the book. What we don’t see is his need to turn any moment into an original song. This made Nick a much more romantic “band boy” character in my eyes.
  6. Norah’s dad gets some spotlight time via a phone call. I liked reading that little transaction, although I can see why it wouldn’t be necessary to include in the movie.

In conclusion, having seen the movie or not, I would highly recommend this book to all of the music lovers out there. The individuals who have a song for every moment. Those are the ones that will without a doubt, smile from beginning to end of this book.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist Book Talk:

– Think of your life’s most magical moments. What songs best illustrate your life’s playlist?

– Are you pleased with the film adaptation? If not, what would you change? If so, what changes do you think worked?

– Do you remember the last time you trusted your gut and “jumped into the mosh pit” or went outside of your comfort zone? Where did it lead you? 

-Nick’s bandmate Dev claims that The Beatles, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” captures the essence of the human spirit and what every pop song is truly about. Do you agree? If not, what song do you think truly captures the essence of the human spirit?

– Naturally inspired. Locally aware. Universally beautiful. With love, Whitney.

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