#3 - Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Jersey kids falling in love in the city thanks to all encompassing power of music. What's not to like?
As a Jersey girl (I say this with both pride and disdain), Nick and Norah's... hit a special chord for me, no pun intended. I live right square in the middle between Nick and Norah's towns. Unfortunately, I wasn't one of those cool kids in high school who ventured into the city on the weekends to listen to the up and coming bands, roaming the streets until the early hours of the following day. No, no. If I wanted to have fun, I went to the movies and then hit up Wendy's or one of NJ's million diners. And that's only if I didn't have a cross country or track meet the next morning.
So allow me to live vicariously through Nick and Norah as a Bridge-and-Tunnel girl who doesn't make enough use of the GWB and Lincoln Tunnel.
If you haven't seen the movie or read the book, the plot is simply this: Nick and Norah are both in the city on a Saturday night, Nick to play a concert with his band and Norah to see some bands. They don't know each other, but while they both try to avoid Nick's ex-girlfriend, Tris, Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. The five minute relationship turns into so much more as they travel the city. The entire night their relationship teeters between good and bad. They don't know each other so they don't really know how the other will react to his/her actions.
The book is told from the perspective of both Nick and Norah. Everything they're thinking, you're reading. Their reactions, oddities, and insecurities are what make their characters likable. I loved Norah's train of thought, mainly because I could relate to her. And while the two are hot blooded teenagers with raging hormones (as we see in one scene), their relationship maintains a sweet quirkiness. Nick's friend Dev explains the simple genius of The Beatles' 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' -- which is probably one of my favorite parts of the book. It's not always about sex, marriage, or money. Sometimes it just about that moment when you reach for this person's hand. That simple but exciting moment.
I love this book, because honestly, who doesn't want to fall in love on a whim and take a tour of the city at night? I would consider myself a realist and say that the chances are highly unlikely, but if it were to happen, I can only hope its as magical as Nick and Norah's night. To find someone who rocks out to the same music (save for a few bands) and gets your weird pop culture references... now that's cool.
Nick and Norah taught me that there's still hope for us Bridge-and-Tunnel folk, especially if you've been watching MTV's Jersey Shore. Not all of us are destined to be with buff and orange-tan Guidos who fist pump to techno music even if its only playing in their heads. There's a Nick (or a Norah) who might be waiting to hold your hand at the next concert (or in my case, a sports bar) you head out to.