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

by Kat Alexander

That’s right, the dynamic duo of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is back–Rachel Cohn and David Levithan are at it again.

This time, the book encompasses more than a single night. This time, the characters have known each other their entire lives. (Don’t worry, there’s still music!)

Naomi is kind of in love with her best friend. Sucks that he’s gay. But that’s not a problem, right? Of course not. The sacred bond of Naomi & Ely will survive! And to help that, they’ve developed the No Kiss List™. Pretty simple: it’s a list of all the people the two of them are not allowed to kiss.
Naomi’s boyfriend isn’t on the list. Then again, it can’t possibly be a good idea for Ely to kiss him–right?
Very, very, very right, as it turns out.
Now all bets are off–the jeans must be returned. The key under Naomi’s doormat (to Ely’s apartment) is removed. The Starbucks locations across New York are divvied up.
Will Naomi and Ely be able to make it through?

Pretty great book, as the first was. (There’s even a brief allusion to Nick and Norah!) Still a little bit…over-the-top.  A little too good to be true. But the words of YA author Maureen Johnson haunt me still: Who am I to decide what is and isn’t realistic?

Cohn and Levithan use various narrators. The differences between the characters’ chapters are incredible and very enjoyable–I mean, you’ve got Naomi, who speaks in symbols part of the time, and then Robin (male), whose chapter is all one massive paragraph with no direct quotes, and then Gabriel, who speaks in mix tapes. Absolutely fantastic to read.

But still, the symbols in Naomi’s chapters are so small it took staring to see what they were meant to represent, and No Kiss List is lacking a–can you hear the English teachers of the world draw their breaths?–strong theme. I didn’t love it. I’m sorry, die-hard fans. David, Rachel–you know I’m going to buy your next books anyway (or, well, check them out of the library as soon as they’re available, or when I can score one on a Goodreads BookSwap, like this one).

Recommended… but only as a casual read. Don’t try and beat a weighty, profound statement out of this novel…it might hurt the book. And possibly whatever you were beating it with.

Kat Alexander is a Figment Reviewer who (clearly) loves to read and comment. She’s active on a number of sites including NaNo, Fiction Press, and FanFiction under aneko24.

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