I actually did the whole thing backwards and watched (and reviewed
!) the film before I read the book, but never mind. I loved the film and thought it was so quirky, so figured the book would be just as amazing. Thankfully
I was right.
|Image taken from Google
In case you haven’t read my review of the film (go do it!), it’s generally about a pair of teenagers, Nick & Norah, who clash together and basically have this infinite night/adventure together. I say they clash together, not in a bad way but in the way in that it’s the start of something big, as opposed to clashing together in the fighting sense. The film storyline actually defers a little from the book, but overall it’s themed around music, love and one long infinite night filled with adventures. What more could you want?
The blurb reads;
Nick’s just seen the girl who dumped him walk in…with a new guy. What else can he do but ask the strange girl next to him to be his girlfriend for the next five minutes?
Norah would do anything to avoid conversation with the not not-friend girl who dumped Nick…and to get over the Evil Ex whom Norah never really totally dumped. What else can she do but answer Nick’s question by making out with him?
With one electric, unexpected kiss, the five-minute couple of Nick and Norah set off on an uncharted adventure called the “first date” that will turn into an infinite night of falling in and out (and in and out, and maybe in and maybe out) of love. Theirs is a first date of music, laughter, heartache, confusion, passion, taxi driver wisdom, and a jacket named Salvatore. And if course a killer soundtrack.
As Nick and Norah wander through the middle-of-the-night mystic maze of Manhattan, they share the kind of night you never want to end, where every minute counts and every moment flickers between love and disaster.
First of all, I love the cover of this book. It’s so simple yet eye-catching. It’s a beautiful colour and I love how the iPod earphones make a heart shape, as well as the cool fonts of the title. The cover is actually so predictable because it covers exactly everything that the book is about ; music, love, the characters of Nick & Norah, and their infinite night.
The story is co-written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Rachel writing Norah’s chapters and David’s writing Nick’s. The book alternates between each characters point of view which is less common, but even more so for me because I’ve never really read a book that uses this concept. I really enjoyed the way it was written, it was nice to get into both characters head and see the way they were both dissecting situations differently. It made it easier to really capture the way the two characters (and men and woman in general) see things, think about things and analyze things so differently when it comes to love and dating. It also helped understand their slight awkwardness a bit better, which again, I loved in this book. Their characters were very off and on; at points Nick seemed really into Norah where she was backing off a little and at other times it was the other way around. It was extremely realistic in this sense and I loved that it didn’t follow the typical storyline of the couple clicking immediately and that being that. It was refreshing to see that not everything went to plan; things Norah was constantly second guessing Nick’s actions and words when really he’s just struggling to juggle getting over his ex and liking Norah at the same time.
Whilst inititally Nick’s character annoyed me a little bit in the film with his inability to move on from his ex, in this book I loved him right away. Perhaps it was because I was getting right in his head and understanding how he actually felt and still hurt a little. His character was a lot more deep too and I loved that.
Norah was witty and so much cooler in the book than in the film (not that she wasn’t cool in the film!) and I loved her character even more when reading the book. The way she talks and just some of the random phrases she uses to explain things are hilarious. She’s just like any other girl; scared to fall for this guy in case she gets hurt, even calling herself a loser when what she says or does doesn’t go to plan and she feels stupid for initiating it. It was great reading about her own second thoughts because though we’ve all moved on and aren’t teenagers anymore dealing with these insecurities or double guessing so severely, they’re always still there when it comes to being with someone we like, no matter how grown up we are.
There were quite a few differences between the book and the film, but none so major that the storyline was effected. For example, Tris’s character is a little nicer and we come to understand that she dumped Nick because she didn’t love him enough and didn’t want to continue hurting him when he could instead be happy with someone else. In the end she somewhat gives the couple their blessing. In the film, Tris and Norah do have a heart to heart moment, suggesting that they sometimes forget that they’re better friends then they realize, but in the book they get on a little better and this is shown more. The night in the book isn’t about finding Norah’s drunk friend either. Although they are still kind of pushed together in the book, the outcome is still the same.
Overall it was just a great story and I loved everything about it. After reading the story, it was so obvious that no one other than Michael Cera and Kat Dennings could have played these characters. The book was great because it just captured the whole story a lot better, everything was just that more deep and the characters were so easy to understand.
I would suggest this book to anyone; regardless of whether you’ve seen the film or not. It’s a short book and despite the fact that it’s quite deep, it’s easy to read. It’s funny and passionate and makes you want to go on your own infinite adventure, if even just to capture that feeling of a first love again. I also loved The Acknowledgements Playlist which was a cute idea.
This book effortlessly captured the innocence and clumsiness of a first love, and most definitely the anticipation and excitement of the adventures we experience on those random seemingly neverending nights.
And here are some of my favourite quotes from the book!
When is a night over? Is it the start of sunrise or the end of it? Is it when you finally go to sleep or simply when you realize you have to? When the club closes or when everyone leaves? Normally, I keep these kinds of questions to myself. But this time, I ask Norah.
“It’s over when you decide it’s over,” she says. “When you call it a night. The rest is just a matter of where the sun is in the sky. That has nothing to do with us.”
“So what do you have to confess now?”
I don’t know why I’m saying any of this, except that it’s the truth.
“I’m confessing that I don’t know if I’m ready for this.”
“What is ‘this’?”
Being open. Being hurt. Liking. Not being liked. Seeing the flicker on. Seeing the flicker off. Leaping. Falling. Crashing.
“Norah. I don’t know if I’m ready for Norah.”
I feel like I could drown in this, in him. He’s lit by the machine he’s leaning against, but I have fallen into darkness, not the darkness of the deranged or the depressed, but the darkness of the consumed, where all I can see, hear, taste, feel, is the probe of our mouths and hands, the warmth of our bodies pressed against each other, the urgency of his wanting, my wanting. It’s like nothing else exists in the world right now except him, me, touching, exploring, longing, needing, sharing, having. So much for my straight-edge vow, because I am drunk on our ing’s. If Nick’s part of ’em, I want ’em, they’re mine.
If I do this, it will be jumping into the middle of the mosh pit. Dangerous. Exhilarating. Terrifying. It’s only a fucking turnstile, but what if I don’t make it to the other side. Some people never make it out of the mosh alive.
The deafening screech of a train brakes announces the train is in the station.
Nick says, “Are we in this or not?”
To throw myself into the breach of our great divide will be a leap of faith.
I grab hold of his warm hand. Deep breath.
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