Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
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 first date.
This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be – and where the next great band is playing.
Told in alternating chapters, teeming with music references, humor, angst, and endearing side characters, this is a love story you’ll wish were your very own. Working together for the first time, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have combined forces to create a book that is sure to grab readers of all ages and never let them go.
Q: What inspired you to write Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist?
David Levithan is a great friend of mine, and I am a huge fangirl of his books. (The Realm of Possibility ranks as one of my Favorite Teen Books Ever.) David and I have a lot in common, including obsessions with My So-Called Life, a passion for teen literature, and a great love of music and making playlists for friends. One day David and I were having lunch together and I mentioned that I had a vague idea for a book: I wanted to write about two New Jersey, straight-edge characters named Nick and Norah (after the Thin Man movies) who would meet at a music club in Manhattan. I wanted to follow their adventures throughout the one night, and just see what would happen. I asked David if he’d want to write Nick, and I’d write Norah. He said, “Okay.” And you know what? I didn’t really give the idea much thought after that, as I was way too lazy to initiate a first chapter. Luckily, David wasn’t, and a couple months later, he e-mailed me Nick’s opening chapter. It was AMAZING. I was hooked. And suddenly my life transformed to waiting by my computer for new file attachments from David with Nick’s chapters, and then sitting right down to respond as Norah. We didn’t plan any of the book out in advance, we just picked up each chapter where the other left off, and I think the fun David and I found in writing to challenge one another translated into a true adventure for Nick and Norah – just like a real first date, where there can be great chemistry, but you really have no idea if it will turn out well or not. You can only dive in and hope.
Q: But you do know the original Nora had no “h” at the end of her name, right?
I do. I just liked the “h,” so I gave the new Norah one. But aside from the lead characters’ names, we weren’t trying to write an updated Thin Man (though the temptation to put a dog named Asta in our book was certainly there). Mostly what we both always liked from the original books/movies was the warm and fun banter between Nick & Nora Charles, and we hoped to somehow infuse that spirit into our teen characters. That’s about as far as the “updating” goes.
Q: Do you love the movie?
We love the movie madly.
Q: I heard you and David had a cameo in the movie, but I didn’t spot you. Where are you?
We’re there, sitting behind Michael Cera and Kat Dennings in the Veselka scene.
Q: Will there be a sequel?
We love the characters too much not to have considered writing more about them, but we feel the ending is better left just where it is, so readers can imagine for themselves what happens next with Nick & Norah. (I certainly have my own ideas, but I’m not telling.)
Q: Do you have playlists for the book?
Of course I do! My playlists are posted as iMixes on the iTunes Music Store, and you can find them there by doing searches for either my name, David’s name, or the book name.
Ely <3 Naomi.
But he prefers to in love with boys.
Naomi and Ely have been inseparable since childhood – partially because they’ve grown up across the hall from each other in the same Manhattan apartment building, and also because they’re best friends. Soul mates. Or are they?
Just to be safe, they’ve created a NO KISS LIST – their list of people who are absolutely off-kissing limits for both of them. The NO KISS LIST protects their friendship and ensures that nothing will rock the foundation of Naomi and Ely: the institution.
Until Ely kisses Naomi’s boyfriend. And a fateful piece of gum in the wrong place at the wrong time changes everything.
Soon a rift of universal proportions threatens to destroy their friendship, and it remains to be seen whether Naomi and Ely can find their way toward new soul-mate prospects…and back to one another.
Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story about love of all kinds, one that reminds us that any great friendship can be as confusing, treacherous, inspiring, and wonderful as any great romance.
Q: What inspired you to write Naomi & Ely’s No Kiss List?
I can’t lie. David and I simply had too much fun writing Nick & Norah, and we were well on our way into writing a second book before Nick & Norah had even been released. The premise of the second book was inspired by a few things. On the walk to the subway from the place where I write in New York, there’s a cool old apartment building on West 9th Street at Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village, near Washington Square Park, that I used to fixate on, and I wondered what it would be like to grow up in a building like that. And, I’ve always loved the name “Naomi” and wanted to write a book with that character name. Want to know a little secret? “Ely” is named after my great friend Patricia McCormick’s awesome-amazing-supreme cuddle monster cat. Most importantly, though, I think David and I were curious to write our own take on the straight girl/gay guy friendship-connection-myth.
“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”
So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?
Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.
Q: What inspired you to write Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares?
David and I knew we were ready to write another book when we had two things: (1) two names – Dash & Lily (which are connected to the iconic Nick & Nora names, if you can figure that one out), and (2) a fun premise – in this case, a scavenger hunt that would also be a way for two characters to play a game of cat and mouse with each other. With those two things in place, the book pretty much wrote itself…with lots of help from characters like Boomer and Mrs. Basil E. And what’s more fun than New York City at Christmas? (Well, there are dividing opinions on that). Once we had these two things, we followed our typical writing process: He wrote a chapter, emailed it to me, and I picked up where he left off, with not much discussion along the way. We try not to discuss our books too much while we’re writing them so that readers can be as surprised as we are by what happens.
Here we are reading from the book at the very bookstore, The Strand in NYC, where some of the actual book takes place. Enjoy!