After loving the book Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by these two authors, I couldn’t wait to see what they had written next, but I didn’t like this book nearly as much.
The book is about two teens, Naomi and Ely, who have been inseparable BFFs since they were little. Naomi is in love with Ely, but Ely is gay. Naomi, however, refuses to accept it. When Naomi’s boyfriend, “Bruce the Second,” and Ely unexpectedly discover that they click with each other better than Bruce did with Naomi, all of the relationships become unraveled. The three have to come to terms with who they really are, what they really want, and what it means for their interactions going forward.
Discussion: The story is told from multiple points of view – not only by Naomi and Ely, but by Bruce the First (an earlier boyfriend of Naomi’s), Bruce the Second, and others in their lives. Some of the characters are more appealing than others. Strike that: I found only Bruce the Second likable. Ely was okay, but only in comparison to Naomi, whom I found extremely unlikable. For reasons unfathomable to me, however, all the other characters adored Naomi.
Ely had an unconvincing epiphany or two by the end of the book, but Naomi not so much.
In addition, I thought the authors got carried away with adding cutesy aspects to the plot, possibly because of the popularity of the music playlists from the previous book. There is even a detailed music playlist in this one, but it seems more like a we-want-you-to-like-this-book-too appendage than an integral part to the story. The idea of the “no-kiss list” also just didn’t quite gel, and Naomi’s use in her chapters of the wingding font (which render letters or words as symbols) struck me as annoying rather than cute.
Evaluation: Some of the issues covered in this book about acceptance of being gay (by both non-gays and potential gays) make it worth reading, but I wasn’t all that taken by the characters or the story. I loved the dedication though: “To Nancy the First.”
Published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., 2007