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Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  83,695 ratings  ·  4,942 reviews
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 fi ...more
Hardcover, 183 pages
Published May 23rd 2006 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2006)
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Kalli It's probably hard for me to answer this question just because this book has come to define such a large part of my life. I really didn't like the mov…moreIt's probably hard for me to answer this question just because this book has come to define such a large part of my life. I really didn't like the movie. I felt that it just wasn't the right medium for the message that was being told, which wasn't really about music, or partying, or even having an end goal but about the fact that life is scary, unpredictable, and will throw you curve balls but that it's up to you to surround yourself with people who you can trust to get you through it.

The entire plot of the movie was changed for the sake of it being...well a movie. As it is a movie there had to be a specific goal in mind: find Caroline, versus the book which is very much about taking a risk, and setting out into this scary, mystery that is life with no plan in the hopes that everything will work out. However, the fact that Norah spends most of the movie searching for Caroline really compromises Nick and Norah's relationship. In the book Norah and Nick are discovering each other on purpose, Norah runs away and then she comes back, or Nick retreats into himself before snapping out of it. The story and narrative is driven by their intentional discovery of each other and themselves no by a the need to resolve a plot. In the movie this is lost because it seems that the characters are forced together more so by circumstance than by choice. In this way there is no active effort being made on their part to get over their respective exes and move-on, it's more of just a side effect of being stuck in the same van searching for Caroline. This really affects their characters. For example, Nick comes off a lot more mopey; in the book his sadness over Tris is also edged with bitterness, versus in the movie it is defined by blue-lit, ethereal scenes that make him out to be a lost, nerdy boy who will never get past Tris.

Another thing that made me really sad about the movie is the way it approaches the relationships between Tris, Caroline, and Norah. I come from an all-girls school background and the relationships between these three girls really reminded me of that when I read the book (i.e. it was authentic.) In fact when I forced one of my closest friends to read the book one of his first comments was that the female relationships in the book really reminded him of the way I describe my own relationships with girls at my schools. This is because even though Norah and Caroline don't necessarily like Tris they are still quite familiar, i.e. they're close enough that Norah has listened to Nick's mixtapes, and some of Tris' flirting tricks were taught to her by Norah (the back of the car phone call). Further, Tris is never outright mean to Norah in the book, passive aggressive sure, but they clearly have a past and the issue is less about how she treats Norah and more about how she has treated Nick. In the movie they are all reduced to caricatures. Norah becomes the outcast, Tris becomes the popular mean girl who has picked on the outcast, and Caroline becomes the drunk, dumb one. They're relationship is squashed in the interest in telling an underdog story; (Norah is clearly not suppose to be an underdog by the way, she is rich, smart, and attractive, her problems are not defined by society but by her own ability to shut down her emotions, and push people away).

Finally the movie focuses way too much on keeping in small, meaningful symbols as opposed to actually meaningful moments (maybe this was a budget thing). Meaningful, material symbols I can think of include Salvatore's jacket, and the Yugo, and meaningful moments that were left out or butchered include moments such as the 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' Monologue. I capitalize it because this was one of the most important parts of the book. It is important because it is said by Dev, a notorious 'man-whore' for lack of a better term who truly believes in the idea that love is simple, and not sexual, almost more-so like a friendship than anything, which contrasts the stereotypical image of his character. In the movie this is spoken by Thom, and that ruins it. Throughout the story Thom and his boyfriend are already exhibiting a healthy relationship and this has not had an impact on Nick through out his break up with Tris. Nick has become a cynic, and turns to people like Dev as evidence as to why maybe its best not to risk it all on one person like he did with Tris. This is why it is so significant when Dev tells him that love is not only possible but simple. This entire night Nick has been over analyzing his relationship with Norah and here is Dev explaining that his own non-monogamous behavior is not evidence that love cannot happen but evidence that when you have a feeling you need to follow it or love will NEVER happen. This is what allows Nick to take a chance on Norah, and move past Tris.

Let's be real, the book is written in beautiful prose that does not transpose well into a movie script. Too much of the story is meant to be self-reflective, and internal and that is difficult to do when you can't show a character's thought process, or inner-monologue. The movie is probably a great indie flick if you haven't read the book, but if you've read the book and had it resonate with you the way I have than it will be a disappointment. (less)
Kalli I think it was a lot of that, but also driven a lot by the fact that Norah and Caroline have grown up together. The vibe I got was that Caroline kind …moreI think it was a lot of that, but also driven a lot by the fact that Norah and Caroline have grown up together. The vibe I got was that Caroline kind of felt like another daughter to them, and that because Norah cared about her so much her parents had long ago come to cherish Caroline in the same way. I think this mainly because there does not seem to be a lot of resentment from Norah towards Caroline, it's more like "oh my gosh my parents are ridiculous and love my best friend so much that it's kind of crazy". (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  83,695 ratings  ·  4,942 reviews

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Apr 10, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: me, age 14
Recommended to Joel by: the movie
A few years ago I posted a far-too-personal blog on MySpace (ok, so maybe it was more than a few years ago) offering a retrospective analysis of select mortifying excepts from my circa-age 14 journal (note: not a diary). It's the only year I kept one, and thank god, because while it's perhaps worthwhile to have a snapshot of what I was thinking and feeling at that particular, tumultuous time in my life, what I was thinking and feeling was stupid and the way I went about putting it into words was ...more
Jun 29, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pretentious punk rocker wannabes
Recommended to Anna by: I have no one to blame -- I foolishly picked it up myself in the
This book left such a bad taste in my mouth! Where do I begin...?

First, the language was ridiculous. This is supposed to be a young adult book, yet I can't tell you how many times the authors [over]used the word "fuck." Why? In most of the situations it was totally unnecessary and sounded like they were trying too hard to impress their young readers. I understand that "fuck" is a word just like anything else, but just like every other word in the English language, it does not need to be the only
Dec 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My wife loved this book and dragged me to the movie shortly after it came out. I thought the movie was cute---a better than average teen romance set in my old stomping grounds of New York City's Greenwich Village and Soho. On leaving the theater, I soon heard from my wife how much better the book was, and how disappointing the movie was. I guess it's all a question of what you're expecting going in...

I started reading the book as soon as we got home.

It opens with a great hook. Nick sees his ex-g
May 30, 2008 rated it did not like it
*DISCLAIMER: I wrote this review several years ago...I've grown since then and I realize this review is very BASHING. I really try hard not to write bashing reviews now because there's an author on the other end of a book. Still, I don't want to censor this review because it was what I felt at the time I read it and I still agree with the majority of the sentiments. I wanted to let you know I would approach my review an entirely different way if I had written it now. 7/13

Nick sees his old girlfr
Dec 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is FUCKING EPIC. So there.

I think all YA lit is exaggerated in a sense, not in a bad way, but in an interesting way--who wants to read about just the ordinary? Of course, I could just be saying this because it was done well here. I bet you anything the next YA book I read, I'll be griping about it being 'too unrealistic.'

What's the difference then? Writing. Levithan and Cohn's writing is sooo gorgeous in that 'witty but not so witty you're annoying and pretentious' kind of way.

And e
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Me for

Before I start the story that is Nick and Norah, I decided we needed to get some misconceptions out of the way first.

1) I don't live in Manhattan, so I won't understand what the characters are talking about. Wrong! I don't live in Manhattan--actually, I've never been farther East than Ohio, but I still got the gist of the story quite easily. Sure, I might never have visited Times Square, but I've been on the Square in my hometown (population 3,400), and the sa
John Winston
Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is probably the worst book I’ve read to date, and I wouldn’t post this review if I thought it would have a negative impact on the authors’ careers. But it won’t so here goes. There’s absolutely no character development here, none. The love story never really gets started (or I probably had something else in mind for a story).

We stay in Norah’s mind soooo much it feels claustrophobic, and trust me, that’s not a mind you want to be in for too long. The F bomb is dropped on almost every page
Finally done. Just over a week to get through a slim 183 pages. Blech.

17-year-old Suzanne would have loved this book. 30-year-old Suzanne hated it. I feel like it tried too hard. And the f-bomb is used way too gratuitously. It's not even used for emphasis's sake.
Normal Human: I am going to take out the trash right now.
Nick and/or Norah: I am going to f*@%ing take out the f*@%ing trash right f*@%ing now.
Is this how the teens are talking these days?
May 31, 2021 rated it liked it
This was cute and short, I think It would have been brilliant if it had been more expanded with some more intricate plot lines, but I do acknowledge the charm of a fast read.
Jul 10, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, blog
Nick and Norah meet in a punk rock club one night when Nick asks Norah to be his 5 minute girlfriend. Why? Because Nick's ex, Tris, is in the club with her new man and Tris broke Nick's heart. From that point on, Nick and Norah recognize the chemistry between them, but their feelings are compromised by their previous relationships.

The book is okay. Just okay. Told in stream-of-consciousness chapters alternating between Nick's point of view and Norah's, some of it becomes repetitive (although thi
Jananie (thisstoryaintover)
um i LOVED this
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen, fiction
On the emo (punk? oh whatever, EMO) music scene in New York City, Nick and Norah meet and fall in love over a single, remarkable night. Unfortunately, what had the potential to be a great book fails in its execution.

The trouble with a co-written book (Cohn and Levithan wrote alternating chapters, sending the manuscript back and forth) is that half the writing I liked a lot (Cohn's) and half the writing I damn near hated (Levithan's). I like wordplay. I do not, however, like it nearly as much as
Jahanzaib Asim
Aug 25, 2016 rated it did not like it

Someone: What's your least favorite book?
Me: *has flashbacks of gagging while reading this book*

MissBecka Gee
Finally got around to checking out the film. This is one of those rare times where I would have enjoyed everything more had I watched the movie before reading the book.

Original review:
This was goodish?

I kept waiting for something more to happen that never arrived.
I am curious to see how this translates to film given all the inner monologues.
Mar 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Morgan by: Dawn Foster
Shelves: ya, owned, favorites
I noticed this book in our house--my mom was reading it, and the cover both intrigued me and repelled me. However, after my mom's recommendation, I read this book--and loved it. It is one of the most dead-on accurate books I've ever read about young emotions and feelings. The initial plot is slightly contrived: a heartbroken teenager sees his ex with her new guy and asks a girl to pretend she's his girlfriend. However, the story is told by both Nick and Norah's point of view, so the reader is al ...more
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly this was a fun quirky read.
Oct 13, 2007 rated it liked it
Novels written by two authors can go one of two ways: they can be really cool, or really bad. Happily, writers of young adult novels seem to have a knack for working in collaboration. "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" (from 2006) was written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. Cohn wrote Norah's part and Levithan wrote Nick's part, but they are not really Nick and Norah.

The story starts in the middle of the night (or is it the beginning of the morning?) at a club on Ludlow Street in New York C
Sara Santos
it was an okay book, nothing special...
Anthony Chavez
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I envision Nick working somewhere like The Strand which was featured in "Dash & Lily's Book of Dares" and now I understand some of the places that were mentioned in that book and the bathroom writing on the wall they mentioned in "Dash & Lily's Book of Dares" by the same authors.

After reading it I was trying to think of what the writing reminded me of, what with all the musical references and the language used, and I went back to my Textual Healing review and thought, "YES." It's like a feel goo
Read this back in high school. All the music and the love got me completely obsessed.
And don't even let me start on the huge girl crush I had on Tris, please.

I'm still not over how disastrously awful the movie adaptation was, though, especially the cast choices.
They casted Michael Cera as Nick.
I'll never not be mad about it.
Francisca Viegas
We are graced, and we are together, and the twoliness is trumping the loneliness and the doubt and the fear.

I actually liked this a lot. I had a minor issue with it, but other than that it was a fun and short read. I've come to expect great things from David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. Their characters are always so real and believable, and the struggles we read about are things most of us have actually been through and therefore can totally relate to.

The worst:
♫ The language in this is way to
May 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Hello Book Peeps

When I saw the cover for this book and the movie poster when it came out in theatres, I believed that this was going to be some kind of rom com that was sweet, inspirational and maybe even deep. Instead what I found out, in about half a minute into the 1st chapter of this audiobook, was that I was not going to find any of the above mention in this book. What I was going to get was an answer to Axel Rose's infamous question: "Do you know where you are?" Yes Axel, I do. I'm in the
Sep 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Street Corner TBR Challenge
May Pick #5 per Tina.

I don’t know if I have ever read a book that I had already watched the movie for. If I have I can’t think of it. I usually read the book first and make myself wait to watch the movie. But, for whatever reason I didn’t wait with Nick and Norah. Hearing the movie was better than the book might have gave me the push…. It was a cool experience though. I knew exactly how to picture the characters; I imagined them the entire time. I kept picturing scenes
Please note that I did not give this book any stars. I rounded up to one star on Goodreads.

I read this for Romance Book Bingo 2017: Insta-love square.

This is going to be a bit ranty so I apologize in advance. I loathed this book. From beginning to end. I can't believe that a movie that I enjoyed spun off from this source material. I think at one time I wonder how many times Nick said the "f" word and decided I was too lazy to do a search via my Kindle because I just wanted this book to be over.
Elle (ellexamines)
This book was such a disappointment for me.

The characters seem overly quirky, like something out of John Green novel (which isn't a positive for me, sorry). There's just nothing special about this book. It's yet another addition to the aggressively heterosexual, aggressively quirky genre, which shocked me coming from David Levithan.

This genre works when the characters and realities of life truly shine through, in books like Perks Of Being A Wallflower and some of David Levithan's other books.
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
3.75/5 ★

i've been in a slump these past few months so managing to finish this novel in less than 24 hours is a huge shocker. which is to say, i thoroughly enjoyed NICK & NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST. i didn't realize but i needed something light, fun, carefree, and cliché. this was exactly that.

this book was short and addictive. i loved the predictable situations and unique characters. although i didn't find anything deliberately special about this novel, i'm very grateful to have picked it up bec
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
What happens when Nick's ex-girlfriend shows up while he’s trying to have a decent night? He makes quick introductions to Norah and strikes a deal to be each other’s date for the next 5 minutes. Add in a sighting of Norah's ex-boyfriend and the 5 minutes extend little by little into an all night getting-to-know you and maybe falling a little bit in love experience.

This book has a certain writing style that should just drive me mad. It’s. So. Abrupt. Halting. Aggressive. Angry. Confused. Generall
Aug 13, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loathed
While Twilight was a psychological nightmare, I found it more tolerable to read than Nick & Norah. I was/am more ashamed of myself when I had wasted time having reached halfway of this book than when I read a few free chapters of Twilight. The Nick and Norah characters—well, to be honest, all the characters—were shallow. Let me summarize the book to those who haven’t read it, from Nick’s POV: “Ex is coming over. Time to protect ego. Find the next girl and have her pretend she’s my new girlfriend ...more
Katrina Passick Lumsden
I totally dig this book. It surprised me because I didn't think the movie looked promising at all, and after having read the book I can honestly say I never want to see the movie. Michael Cera as Nick? Not a stellar casting decision. Nick O'Leary deserved better. Oh well.

Setting that atrocity of cinema aside for a moment...

This book does have its flaws, the major one being the musical elitism. But if you can look past that, you can see two people who come together under somewhat unusual circums
3.25 stars! // I actually quite enjoyed this read - it was entertaining, fun, cute, humorous, fast-paced, and the characters were really likable. It wasn't amazing (in my opinion), or a new favorite of mine or anything, but I liked it! Definitely worth the read, since it's also very, very short. ...more
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Rachel grew up in the D.C. area and graduated from Barnard College with a B.A. in Political Science. She has written many YA novels, including three that she cowrote with her friend and colleague David Levithan. She lives and writes (when she's not reading other people's books, organizing her music library or looking for the best cappuccino) in New York City. ...more

Articles featuring this book

From The Hunger Games to The Fault in Our Stars, some of Hollywood's biggest movies began as beloved young adult novels....
109 likes · 51 comments
“You know the reason The Beatles made it so big?...'I Wanna Hold Your Hand.' First single. Fucking brilliant. Perhaps the most fucking brilliant song ever written. Because they nailed it. That's what everyone wants. Not 24/7 hot wet sex. Not a marriage that lasts a hundred years. Not a Porsche...or a million-dollar crib. No. They wanna hold your hand. They have such a feeling that they can't hide. Every single successful song of the past fifty years can be traced back to 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand.' And every single successful love story has those unbearable and unbearably exciting moments of hand-holding.” 1041 likes
“I Wanna Hold Your Hand.’ First single. Fucking brilliant. Perhaps the most fucking brilliant song ever written. Because they nailed it. That’s what everyone wants. Not 24-7 hot wet sex. Not a marriage that lasts a hundred years. Not a Porsche or a blow job or a million-dollar crib. No. They wanna hold your hand. They have a feeling that they can’t hide.” 959 likes
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