Iowa City Public Library's Reviews > Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn
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Jul 15, 2010

bookshelves: jason, young-adult, staff-picks-blog

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have teamed up again to write another ultra-hip teen romance (see Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist). And could we please have a new one every year?

BFFs Naomi & Ely are freshman at NYU but are still living with their parents in apartments across the hall from each other (in order to save cash, keep their parents together emotionally, but also – more importantly – to remain fused at the hip).

Naomi is dating Bruce the 2nd (we also meet Bruce the 1st) but secretly wishes she were married to Ely and that he Loved (ever-important capital-L Love) her.

Problem: Ely is gay. Thus unlikely to take a wife. Naomi is obviously aware of this, but seems to have been in denial for the majority of their lives.

During the course of their growing up Naomi & Ely realized that: (1) They would/must stay friends to the end, (2) There could potentially be problems if both ended up going after the same guy, (3) Thus the creation of The No Kiss List™. A boy would never get between their friendship (as it almost did with #1 on the list Donnie Weisberg).

Problem: Bruce the 2nd isn’t on the list. But why would he be? Naomi was never much into him, he just fit a comfortable role.

So after Ely kisses Bruce 2. Bruce 2 wonders, "am I really gay after all?" Friendship fallout. Naomi does the unthinkable and dumps Ely. She can’t face the fact that he’ll never NOT be gay.

This story is so great for High Schoolers (and the rest of us). It has fun, effortless dialogue and revolves around a good old fashioned (but not really old fashioned) love story. Many will identify with the act of confusing Love love (remember that capital L?) with the love of someone who is important to you. It’s also very Jane Austen-eque, there’s romantic triangles aplenty. And most importantly, it takes place outside of High School! Such a novel – yet simple! – concept. With so many YA novels you’ve got your main characters and then you’ve got this other gigantic silent character in the wings: the school and all that baggage. Here we get to focus JUST on the relationship between our human characters. --Jason

From ICPL Staff Picks Blog
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