on 25 September 2013
This book has lingered near the top of my to-read pile for close to a year now, but I took my time in making the leap to actually picking it up. I don't know why, especially after I read and enjoyed Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by the same authors, earlier this year. It's a short read and sounded exactly like the kind of story I really enjoy. But all that matters not is that I have finally picked it up and read it. I'm so glad I did.
Seeing as it's so short (just shy of 200 pages), I read it in less than 24 hours, but I think, even if it had been longer, I would have read it just as fast.
The first chapter was pretty good, introducing the reader to Nick, but I wouldn't say that I really got pulled into the story until the end of the second chapter, when I had not only seen things through Nick's perspective for the first time, but also Norah's. It was immediately clear that the two characters were pretty similar to one another (both in personality and predicament), an I knew that the chemistry between them would not take long to show.
Both are music-obsessed; Nick is the bassist and only straight member of a 'queercore' band, and Norah, who is in the crowd at their gig at the beginning of the novel, happens to be the daughter of a rich and influential music producer. As a result, both characters talk about music a lot - sometimes I understood what and who they were on about, and sometimes I didn't (my musical knowledge does not extend very far) - but I found that, either way, my enjoyment of the book was not too badly affected. I think if I had greater knowledge of the music that was being discussed I may have gotten a little more out of the book, but I don't think, overall, that it made much difference at all. I mention this because, having spoken to other readers who are yet to read this book, this seemed to be a fairly large concern, but I'm here to say that even if, like me, you have a limited knowledge of all things musical, it's still more than possible to seriously enjoy this book.
As I said, I didn't think it would be too long until the chemistry between Nick and Norah began to show, and I was right on two counts. Neither character initially knows it, but the physical attraction is mutual from the first hasty kiss that begins their packed and unforgettable night together that spans the length of the novel. But it wasn't just a physical attraction that showed (initially from the characters' thoughts in their individual chapters), but also an intellectual, deeper attraction, that became increasingly obvious as the two of them talked and began to get to know each other. In fact, I would say that this attraction, for Norah, began almost as soon as she realised who he was, through mix tapes and song lyrics he'd created for his ex-girlfriend, Tris, who happens to be a kind-of0but-not-quite friend of Norah's.
I never quite got tot he point of feeling frustrated by the constant ups and downs of Nick and Norah's fledgling relationship because I was so utterly convinced that things were going to work out between them, so I decided to sit back and enjoy the ride, and enjoy it I did. The conversations between them were witty, humorous, sometimes profound and deep, and the situations they got in together were intense, and often laugh-out-loud hilarious (particularly towards the end - you'll know what I mean, if you've read it, or decide to). I enjoyed every moment of their rollercoaster relationship.
Aside from Nick and Norah, there was another character that I really feel I should mention. Obviously there are other characters in the book beside our leading couple, but most of them took a back seat, in my opinion. Apart from one; Nick's ex, Tris.
She starts out being an almost-antagonist, 'evil-ex' kind of figure - even Norah seemed to dislike her, and I was inclined to agree, from what I'd already seen through Nick's eyes. But as is sometimes the case, the male had misunderstood pretty much everything, and the female had purposefully confused. As the novel goes on, Tris' role in it evolves, and her final appearance really surprised me. It totally changed my opinion of her, and made her a much more interesting character.
The only reason I have not given Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist the full five star rating is because it did not have the unforgettable 'wow-factor', but I did really, really enjoy it. It was infinitely entertaining, witty, funny and compelling. The characters are intelligent, well-developed and loveable, and the prose is absorbing, clever and in places, beautiful.
This is a wonderful read, especially if what you're looking for is a quick, fun and uplifting story. I highly recommend it.
Originally written for my blog, Pen to Paper ([...])