So you're a guy; you're at a band show and your ex, the girl who dumped you, walks in with the new guy. Looking for a safe exit, you ask the girl you happen to sitting with to be your girlfriend for five minutes…. You're a girl; you're at a get-together and your least favorite female strolls in. The stranger sitting next to you asks you to be his five-minute date. So what do you? You lock lips…. Nick and Norah's instant connect begins a roller-coaster "first date" that takes them through Manhattan and into themselves. A novel concept that works.
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.
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.
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.
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)