Tag Archives: david levithan

Review Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn

It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City;and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.

This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be;and where the next great band is playing.

Told in alternating chapters, teeming with music references, humor, angst, and endearing side characters, this is a love story you’ll wish were your very own. Working together for the first time, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have combined forces to create a book that is sure to grab readers of all ages and never let them go.

Genre: YA Fiction
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Release Date: August 26, 2008
Page Count: 208
Source: My copy.
Rating: 4/5

Having seen Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist The Movie, and loving it (except the emphasis on Norah’s non-orgasms, that was weird [and I’m glad there was only a single mention of it in the book]) I really wanted to read this book. I also liked Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares (mostly), which made me want to get my hands on this book even more. And I really did enjoy it. Even more than I did Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares.

I could see how the overuse of the word “fuck” or any variation of it could make readers want to shy away from this novel (especially being teen fiction and all), but I thought it was appropriate. My views on swearing and sex in teen fiction is this: teens swear. A lot. And sex is part of their lives as much if not more so (with the pressures that go with teen life) than adults. And I don’t think the adults writing the teen fiction should censor these novels to a point where the elements of these teens’ lives are not present. And so, the passionate swearing in this novel worked for me. I think both characters were really passionate in their lives and it made sense for them to express themselves with such passion. But I’ll tell you right now, if the word “fuck” bothers you, you’re not going to want to read this book.

I thought, at times, that Nick was a bit sensitive for a teenage boy, but he had just broken up with his girlfriend so it wasn’t totally unwarranted. But I absolutely loved Norah. She was strong, yet aware of her weaknesses and the mistakes that she made. She had loving parents, which was refreshing – I realize not all teens have that perfection in their lives where parents are concerned, but the reality is that some do, and it was nice to see that. I think Nick and Norah had amazing chemistry – especially in that one scene, whew! – and I enjoyed seeing their relationship develop. Somehow the authors did not enter insta-love territory, despite the fact that the entire novel is the course of one night, they kept it classy – these teens were actually interested in getting to know one another. I loved the backdrop of the music scene – it all felt very genuine. The novel was really short, but not too short to develop the characters. I thought the whole thing was executed brilliantly.


Review Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors ofNick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

Genre: YA Fiction
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: December 26, 2010
Page Count: 260
Source: My copy.
Rating: 3/5

The simple truth is, I loved this book until That Thing Happened. I thought Dash was an intelligent, unique, rooted boy who I could very easily relate to and I thought Lily was quite charming. I think Levithan and Cohn make a sensational team and frankly, I cannot count on two hands how many times this book made me laugh out loud. Really, laugh.

But the book was a bit pretentious. The reason I say it like that is because I read a review in which the reader rated it lowly because of its pretentious nature and I didn’t really believe it. But now I understand. The story goes from Dash wanting to meet Lily to Lily making a fool of herself to Dash thinking they shouldn’t have met, not because of what Lily did but because they just… shouldn’t? Why? And I don’t know if I’m just being naive or if I just wanted them to work so badly or what, but I feel like I don’t understand his reasoning. I mean, I understand that the girl in his head probably doesn’t exist and if she does, Lily is most likely not that girl, but if he realizes that the girl in his head doesn’t exist, then what is wrong with Lily, if her fault is not her actions. This is where the book felt pretentious to me. I felt like that there was an inner meaning to the whole girl (or boy) in our heads, but I don’t think that inner meaning really shined through in this novel. It was never really achieved.

And Lily. I really liked her, but what she did, how she acted in that one instance that served as a first impression, was unforgivable. Not only was it out of character, but it was as if she had completely given up on herself, not to mention Dash. And she just declined from there. I had gained so much respect for her and her morals, I was completely floored by her. And its in instances like this where my opinion conflicts with that of the entire book population. Sometimes, I don’t feel that a story needs conflict. For me, it would have been okay to tell Lily and Dash’s story without forcing for Lily to do something stupid to delay the whole thing. I think it would have been okay for them to stay true to themselves instead of make the mistakes that they made. And everyone makes mistakes – I understand that – but personally, I can’t stand in books when one person becomes two different people. And because Lily was That Person, I don’t feel that she really was right for Dash, and therefore disagreed with the rest of the book.

Apart from that, I absolutely loved Dash and all of his friends. Especially Boomer. He was one of the most kindhearted characters I have come in contact with in a long time. I think the book had strong world building – I could really picture New York from where I sat – and I really enjoyed the premise of the story. I thought it was executed well, like I said, until That Thing Happened that really propelled the story in the wrong way for me. But in a way, Dash’s character drove it home for me. Despite my disagreements with the story as a whole, I really enjoyed falling into his chapters and getting to know him as a person. He was very interesting.

I would recommend this book for solid writing, to readers who are looking for a light read, and who may be a bit more forgiving of humans than I am.


Review Every Day by David Levithan

In his New York Times bestselling novel, David Levithan introduces readers to what Entertainment Weekly calls a “wise, wildly unique” love story about A, a teen who wakes up every morning in a different body, living a different life.

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl. 

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

With his new novel, David Levithan, bestselling co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.

Genre: YA Fiction
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Page Count: 336
Source: My copy.
Rating: 3/5

This book was just okay for me. I’m unable to point out anything that I particularly loved about the book, but wholly, besides a few gripes I have with it, it was a good book.

What stands out to me the most though, was how unrelatable A was. Not being able to pinpoint A’s gender was very frustrating. Had A been a girl with raging hormones, or a laid back teenage boy that just wanted to hang out with his friends, I could relate to A’s emotions. Yet A was in limbo. A’s actions portrayed A as a girl, with how quickly A fell in love with Rhiannon (and yes, this book suffers from insta-love – on A’s part, not on Rhiannnon’s), yet I got the sense that, deeply, A was a boy. This confliction was not only confusing but frustrating, as I said, and I desperately wanted to know which side of A I should hold on to.

I also think A’s expectations of Rhiannon were unrealistic. A expected Rhiannon to accept their situation without question – love conquers all etc. – without really thinking of her feelings. I’m a big believer in true love and destiny and all that, but I just wasn’t buying it. I couldn’t see their relationship ever working.

I had no quarrels with the way Levithan told this story. He certainly can write a sentence. Though I thought the world building could have been better, I have noticed lately that authors in YA contemps are focusing more on their characters than their worlding, so I won’t fault him for that. I can forgive a less-than-perfect storyline. I cannot forgive bad characters.

I thought the ending was very rushed, and totally incomplete. So incomplete that, I think there is enough of an adventure left in A that there could be a sequel. That there should be a sequel. I have no idea if there is a possibility of a sequel, but I think I would definitely read it to find out what happens.

Overall, it was an okay read. I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson, a book Levithan co-authored with John Green, and I know the man can write. I also admire him. I know he has taken a stand on homosexuality in YA literature and I think the YA community needs more advocates like him. Despite my issues with this one book, I would definitely read more of his work.