Sunday, November 29, 2009

Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List
By Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

rating: 5.5 out of 10 "books"

This second collaboration between Cohn and Levithan (who co-wrote Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist), tells the story of Naomi, a tough city girl with seemingly little interest in anything other than her friendship with her best gay friend, Ely. Naomi and Ely have practically been best friends since birth. They’ve lived across the hall from each other in their Manhattan apartments all their lives and have shared everything from the collapse of their parents’ marriages to clothing. One thing they will not share however is men. Hence the reason for the creation of the “No Kiss List,” a fool-proof plan against a “Naomi & Ely breakup.” But a series of events threatens the Naomi & Ely relationship and leaves readers clambering to find out whether the damage can be reversed.

This novel and I got off to a rocky start. Within the first few pages I was bombarded with a flurry of symbols and names that left me confused and discouraged. It took a few reads of some very nonsensical sentences accompanied by symbols to figure out for example, that a character named Robin was actually two people, one male one female, distinguished by slightly different symbols. The first chapter gives us a look into Naomi’s train of thought, detailing her knack for lying (“Lies are easier to process”—Naomi), to her indifference towards others. She describes levels of “I love you’s” that she says to various people, but none seem to embody the true meaning of love. Even Naomi’s feelings towards her boyfriend, Bruce the Second (named as such because of the existence of a former boyfriend named Bruce), are less than real. The recklessness of Naomi and Ely is reminiscent of the CW version of Gossip Girl. Ely is hardly any better than Naomi, going through boyfriends quicker than the season’s fashions go out of style.

For the first portion of the novel I didn’t feel the smallest bit of sympathy toward the two main characters and questioned my commitment to finishing the book. However, the two-dimensionality of the characters was rounded out by the inclusion of other characters’ points of view including: Bruce the First, the High School boy who has not been able to sleep ever since he and Naomi broke up forcing him to join a group of fellow insomniacs, nicknamed the “Bruce Society,” in the wee hours of the night; Bruce the Second, Naomi’s current boyfriend, who struggles with his feelings and identity throughout the story and who appears to be the total opposite of Naomi in every way (Bruce on telling the truth: “There is something so intimate about saying the truth out loud. There is something so intimate about hearing the truth said. There is something so intimate about sharing the truth, even if you’re not entirely sure what it means.”); as well as other characters such as the Robins, Gabriel, and Bruce the First’s twin sister, Kelly.

In the end, I really enjoyed this book especially because I felt that it included many truths and lessons. I even grew to enjoy encountering the slew of symbols that accompanied Naomi’s chapters, eager to decode the meanings.

No comments:

Post a Comment