Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

4.2 357
by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan

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The New York Times bestselling he-said/she-said rock n’ roll romance that inspired the motion picture starring Michael Cera (Juno, Arrested Development) and Kat Dennings (Thor, TV’s 2 Broke Girls)!

"I know this is going to sound strange, but would you mind being my girlfriend for the next five minutes?" See more details below


The New York Times bestselling he-said/she-said rock n’ roll romance that inspired the motion picture starring Michael Cera (Juno, Arrested Development) and Kat Dennings (Thor, TV’s 2 Broke Girls)!

"I know this is going to sound strange, but would you mind being my girlfriend for the next five minutes?"

Nick frequents New York's indie rock scene nursing a broken heart. Norah is questioning all of her assumptions about the world. They have nothing in common except for their taste in music, until a chance encounter leads to an all-night quest to find a legendary band's secret show and ends up becoming a first date that could change both their lives.

Co-written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, co-author of WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON with John Green (THE FAULT IN OUR STARS), NICK & NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story that reminds you how you can never be sure where the night will take you…

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This compulsively readable novel takes place in less than 24 hours. At a New York club one night, Nick convinces a stranger to pose as his girlfriend in order to fool Tris, the girl who broke his heart. He does not guess (though readers may) that kissing Norah will lead to a long, complicated evening, and a new chance for love. Levithan (Boy Meets Boy) and Cohn (Gingerbread) reveal the clever construction of the book in an authors' note: they sent chapters back and forth, he writing as Nick, she as Norah. The novel has that pumped-up feeling of a story passed among friends who each add a section, spontaneously incorporating unforeseen elements. Levithan again creates outrageous characters and witty wordplay (a "Playboygirl Bunny" bouncer asks Nick, "How long have the two of you been the two of you?"), and Cohn brings to life another rich punk rock girl. The two see a secret show on the Lower East Side, pig out in a Russian diner, and get caught making out in an ice room at the Times Square Marriott, all the time wondering if they can let go of their past loves and risk another heartbreak. Much of the novel's energy comes from the rapid-fire repartee between the two leads, plus perhaps the most vivid character, Tris-Nick's Id-driven ex and a classmate of Norah's, who ends up giving Nick advice and Norah kissing lessons. Readers will likely enjoy the ride, even if it is obvious where these two are headed. Ages 14-up. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Cars that won't start, bands called Where's Fuzzy?, and vintage gasoline attendant jackets with names embroidered under the station logo--all are part of a novel that is sure to become a staple among high school kids. It is written in highly engaging alternating chapters from the perspectives of Nick and Norah, who spend one really long evening (into morning) together in New York City. It starts off with Nick asking Norah, "I know this is going to sound strange, but would you mind being my girlfriend for the next five minutes?" Nick is a Jersey boy, the only straight member of a homosexual band called The !@#$ Offs, and Norah is a flannel wearing daughter of a high-powered music executive who turned down Brown in order to follow her former boyfriend to a kibbutz. The two unwittingly share a number of things: a love of punk bands, recently broken (as in ripped out, spat upon and trampled) hearts, and the fact that they are both straight-edgers, meaning that neither of them smoke, drink or do drugs. The authors have numerous young adult publications of their own; Cohn's include Gingerbread and Shrimp, and Levithan's include Boy Meets Boy and Are We There Yet? This is their first book together. While it contains a great deal of profanity and numerous sexual passages; all of that notwithstanding, it is still a recommended read for high schoolers. 2006, Alfred A. Knopf/Random House, and Ages 14 up.
—Cindy L. Carolan
When he spots Norah in a packed bar, under-aged bass player Nicks asks her to be his girlfriend for "the next five minutes." This great readers' hook is actually a ploy for Nick to conceal himself from Tris, his ex. Norah, who has turned down acceptance into Brown, plays along with a lingering kiss, but the improvisational romance hits a rocky start. She does not want to be "some 7-Eleven quick stop on his slut train." From there, a wild ride of attraction, anger, uncertainty, lust, and finally love blasts through a single Manhattan night into dawn. Laced with musical name droppings of punk, heavy metal, and even oldies songs and groups (Abba gets a nod), the accomplished authors create an alternating-points-of-view romance that is edgy, sexual, and oh-so realistic. Hip and bold descriptive phrases highlight this book-a novel that will achieve cult status with older teens. Readers become part of a club's unrestrained chaos when the band plays a Green Day cover and the pair becomes "seven years old and dancing like we spit out the Ritalin while Mom wasn't looking." Nick and Norah, both recovering from lousy relationships, lug around emotional baggage that helps them to connect. The would-be lovers are funny, do stupid things, doubt themselves, and teens will adore them. F-bombs are dropped throughout the book, but it works. These characters are not "gosh" or "shucks" people. Repartee spices up the dialogue-perhaps a tribute to William Powell and Myrna Loy, the Nick and Nora Charles of the 1934 film The Thin Man. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended forYoung Adults). 2006, Knopf, 192p., and PLB Ages 15 to Adult.
—Rollie Welch
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-What happens when two witty, wise, but vulnerable teens meet by accident at a chaotic punk rock club? They fall in love, of course. While both are dealing with the fallout of failed relationships and the infinite hurt that accompanies them, they are questioning everything about themselves, their friends, and their future paths. The passion and intelligence of these characters, along with the authors' intimate knowledge of and complete respect for their audience, make this novel unique. Told in alternating chapters over the course of a single night, the narratives create a fully fleshed-out picture of both teens, informed by their love of music, their devotion to their friends, and their clear-eyed view of the world. These kids don't drink or do drugs and it's solely their obsession with music that takes them to these clubs. One of Norah's relatives calls her a "potty mouth," and that's no exaggeration. Throughout the book, the expletives fly fast and furious, but they are more about personal expression and in-your-face attitude than about strong emotions. Yet, there is also considerable depth and sensitivity. Norah explains the Jewish concept of tikkun olam-the responsibility to heal a fractured world-and Nick comes up with an original spin on it. There are many heart-stopping, insightful moments in this supremely satisfying and sexy romance. A first-rate read.-Tracy Karbel, Glenside Public Library District, Glendale Heights, IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The wattage goes way up as two of the bright lights of contemporary writing for teens come together for an incandescent he said/she said night of storytelling. Nick from Hoboken is the songwriter, bassist and token straight guy for a queer/punk band; Norah from Englewood Cliffs is the privileged daughter of a recording exec who loves nothing better than the music. The story's written in alternating chapters in their two voices over a single madcap night. Nick's still hurting from his breakup with Tris, a blonde bombshell, and Norah from Tal, for whom she was never Jewish enough, vegan enough or political enough. When Nick sees Tris at the club where he's playing, he asks Norah to be his "girlfriend for five minutes" and a luscious kiss. On to another club, through various hardcore bands, rain on a Sunday morning, an encounter in the ice and soda alcove at the Marriott Marquis-all the while rooting for these smart-mouthed, but vulnerable teens to reach each other through all the kissing and music. There's perfectly captured teen music-geek talk and delicious stuff about kissing and what lies beyond. Sensual and full of texture. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
"Electric, sexy . . . and genuinely poignant, this is a compelling story of the risks and thrills of burgeoning intimacy." - The Bulletin, Starred

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
1020L (what's this?)
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

I find Dev at the bar, talking to a guy our age who looks familiar in that Type kind of way. When I get to where they’re standing, I’m introduced as “the bass god, Nick,” and he’s introduced as “Hunter from Hunter.” Dev thanks me for being equipment bitch, and from the way the conversation doesn’t continue from there I know I’m interrupting. If it was Thom, my agitation would probably be noticed. But Dev needs you to spell emotions out for him, and right now I’m not in the mood. So I just tell him where I left the stuff and pretend I’m going off to search for a clear spot on the bar to summon the bartender from. And once I’m pretending that’s the truth, I figure it might as well be the truth. I still can’t see Tris, and there’s a small part of me that’s wondering if it was even her in the crowd. Maybe it was someone who looked like Tris, which would explain the guy who didn’t look like anybody.

Are You Randy? stop playing their instruments one by one, until the lead singer croons a final, a cappella note. I wish for their sake I could say the club falls into silence at this, but in truth the air is one-half conversation. Still, that’s better than average, and the band gets a lunge of applause and cheers. I clap, too, and notice that the girl next to me puts two fingers in her mouth to whistle old-fashioned style. The sound is clear and spirited, and makes me think of Little League. The girl is dressed in a flannel shirt, and I can’t tell whether that’s because she’s trying to bring back the only fashion style of the past fifty years that hasn’t been brought back or whether it’s because the shirt is as damn comfortable as it looks. She has very pale skin and a haircut that reads private school even though she’s messed it up to try to hide it. The next band opened for Le Tigre on their last tour, and I figure this girl’s here to see them. If I was a different kind of guy, I might try to strike up a friendly conversation, just to be friends. But I feel that if I talk to someone else right now, all I’ll be able to do is unload.

Thom and Scot would probably be ready to go if I wanted them to, but I’m pretty sure Dev hasn’t figured out yet whether he’s coming back with us or not, and I’d be an asshole to put him on the spot and ask. So I’m stuck and I know it, and that’s when I look to my right and see Tris and her new guy approaching the beer-spilled bar to order another round of whatever I’m not having. It’s definitely her, and I’m definitely fucked, because the between-band rush is pressing toward me now and if I try to leave, I’ll have to push my way out, and if I have to push my way out, she’ll see me making an escape and she’ll know for sure that I can’t take it, and even if that’s the goddamn truth I don’t want her to have actual proof. She is looking so hot and I am feeling so cold and the guy she’s with has his hand on her arm in a way that a gay friend would never, ever think of, and I guess that’s my own proof. I am the old model and this is the new model and I could crash out a year’s worth of time on my bass and nothing, absolutely nothing, would change.

She sees me. She can’t fake surprise at seeing me here, because of course she fucking knew I’d be here. So she does a little smile thing and whispers something to the new model and I can tell just from her expression that after they get their now-being-poured drinks they are going to come over and say hello and good show and—could she be so stupid and cruel?—how are you doing? And I can’t stand the thought of it. I see it all unfolding and I know I have to do something—anything—to stop it.

So I, this random bassist in an average queercore band, turn to this girl in flannel who I don’t even know and say:

“I know this is going to sound strange, but would you mind being my girlfriend for the next five minutes?”

Randy from Are You Randy? insists the bassist from the queercore band is a ’mo, but I told him No, the guy is straight. Whether or not he’s responsible for his band’s shit lyrics (Fuck the Man / Fuck the Man—what’s that trite crap?), I have no idea, but he’s ‘no ’mo. Trust me. There are certain things a girl just knows, like that a fourth minute on a punk song is a bad, bad idea, or that no way does a Jersey-boy bassist with Astor Place hair who wears torn-up, bleach-stained black jeans and a faded black T-shirt with orange lettering that says When I say Jesus, you say Christ, swing down boy-boy alley; he’s working the ironic punk boy–Johnny Cash angle too hard to be a ’mo. Maybe he’s a little emo, I told Randy, but just because he doesn’t look like a Whitesnake-relic-reject like all of your band, does not automatically mean the guy’s gay.

The incidental fact of his straightness doesn’t mean I want to be NoMo’s five-minute girlfriend, like I’m some 7-Eleven quick stop on his slut train. Only because I am the one loser here who hasn’t lost all her senses to beer, dope, or hormones do I have the sense to hold back my original instinct—to yell back “FUCK, NO!” in response to NoMo’s question.

I have to think about Caroline. I always have to think about Caroline.

I noticed NoMo loading equipment after his band’s set while his bandmates abandoned him to score some action. I understand that scene. I am that scene, cleaning up everyone else’s mess.

NoMo dresses so bad—he has to be from Jersey. And if Jersey Boy is equipment bitch, he has a van. The van’s probably a piece of scrap metal with a leaking carburetor that as likely as not will pop a tire or run out of gas in the middle of the Lincoln Tunnel, but it’s a risk I have to take. Somebody’s got to get Caroline home. She’s too drunk to risk taking her on the bus. She’s also so drunk she’ll go home with Randy if I’m not there to take her back to my house where she can sleep it off. Groupie bitch. If I didn’t love her so much, I’d kill her.

From behind him I don't see Caroline but I do see that stupid bitch, Tris, rhymes with bris, cuz that's what she'll do to a guy, rip apart his piece. She's doing her Tris strut with her big boobs sticking out in front of her, wiggling her ass in that way that gets the instant attention of every dumb schmo in her wake, even the gay boys, who seem to be highly represented here tonight, NoMo notwithstanding. She's coming right toward me. No No NOOOOOOOOOOO. How did she find out Caroline and I would be here tonight? Does she have lookouts with text pagers set up every place Caroline and I go on a Saturday night, or what?
Boyfriend to the rescue! I answer NoMo's question by putting my hand around his neck and pulling his face down to mine. God, I would do anything to avoid Tris recognizing me and trying to talk to me.

From the Hardcover edition.

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