Tag Archives: music

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 Casey Barnes Eponymous by E.A. Rigg

 

It’s three weeks into the school year when music junkie Casey Barnes gets a second chance with her mysterious, heartbreaking ex-boyfriend. She comes up with a plan to win him back, but it soon spins out of control as rivalries, revelations about him, and music itself all start to collide. For Casey the newfound attention means learning the difference between wanting center stage and actually being on it.

Genre: YA Fiction
Publisher: Indie
Release Date: January 1, 2012
Page Count: 220
Source: My copy.
Rating: 4/5

For me, Casey Barnes Eponymous was a quick spontaneous read that I found, bought, and read all in the span of a couple hours. Which is weird because I’m usually really cautious about “music” novels. Mostly because they have let me down in the past. But Casey Barnes Eponymous was very charming. And the cover is so cute. I love it.

Casey Barnes is one of those characters that you wish you had for a friend. She’s this indie kind of girl who is very original and unique, and generally wonderful to be around. She’s hilarious. She had me laughing out loud several times throughout the course of this novel. Her vocabulary is very advanced for a teenager – she doesn’t ever say anything that makes you, as an adult, think, what the hell is she talking about – yet she doesn’t know what a narcissist is when the idea of one presents itself. I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with her.

The novel was a bit predictable, at least where Leigh was concerned, but then again it wasn’t. And I think that’s my biggest complaint with it. Like every other character known to man, Casey makes mistakes – because I guess the novel wouldn’t be interesting if someone didn’t make mistakes, right? (I beg to differ) – but Casey’s mistakes are so out of character for her. So much that they are unbelievable. I found myself thinking, why would she do that? I mean, I see Casey as this strong, independent girl, and yet she let’s this asshole manipulate her time and time again. I could see once – fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me kind of thing – but she keeps running back to him and jeopardizing her other friendships. It’s just so unlike her that I found myself disliking her at these points in the story rather than reveling at her development as a character.

She makes up for it in the end, thankfully, and the story ends on a good note. Other than the aforementioned shortcomings with Casey’s character, I really did love this novel. I enjoyed reading about all the supporting characters (except the asshole of course), and loved how strong and independent they all were. They never ventured from their true selves and I really felt like I could connect with them. Everyone was unique, yet were all very normal. I could definitely picture myself being a part of this world.

In a sense, the playlists seem like an added bonus, but I don’t think this novel would have been the same without them… Casey wouldn’t have been the same without them. They made Casey and this novel charming. Though I didn’t know of all the bands mentioned, I was able to connect with a lot of them which made this novel that much more relatable.

I could probably go on about the independence of this novel and its characters and how much it stood out for me from all the similarities found in YA today such as terrible vocabulary, over the top teen angst, or personality-less characters, but I think you all get the point. It really was a great book.