Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

ARC from BEA
Due: August 28, 2007 from Knopf Books for Young Readers

Naomi and Ely, Ely and Naomi. I expected assumed that the narrative would be similar to that of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, in that Naomi and Ely would take turns telling their story every chapter. Well, you know what they say about assumptions. Yes, Naomi and Ely do narrate the majority of the book, but we also get treated to narration from at least six other characters. This threw me for a loop. Some of it I quite dug.

(Now I'm remembering my days of senior English, studying Hamlet and how you could really only know a character by what he/she says when no one else is around, or by what somebody else says when that character isn't present. It's like that, probably.)

Naomi and Ely is a rebus story for teens. The pictures and symbols were unexpected at first and occasionally hard to interpret. It is a pretty cool concept and I hope that between the galley stage and the actual published book the graphics will get cleaned up.

Ok, enough with the format, onto the actual plot - at least what I feel I can reveal without spoilers. So, Naomi loves Ely and Ely loves Naomi, only not in the same way, because Ely really loves boys. (Trust me, the back of the book sums it up better than this.) To save their friendship, insuring they will not fight over boys, they have created a No Kiss List, which is constantly under revision. As that's just the start of the story, we know it can't go well from there. Snarky, banter flying left and right, full of pop-culture references, and relevant, Naomi and Ely is a little sloppier than Cohn and Levithan's first collaboration. Still, a fun ride, with a satisfying ending.

Particular bits I got a kick out of, without getting spoilery:
1. mention of Buffy
2. inclusion of a song from the Buffy musical on a playlist - the song that is my default ringtone
3. debate over Dawson/Joey, Pacey/Joey - I loved it, but doubt that any of today's teen will really care. Perhaps they won't even know those characters.
4. reference to Nick and Norah

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