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

I absolutely adored Cohn and Levithan’s Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, a young adult romance partly set in The Strand, with a hefty epistolary component and a dash of screwball comedy.

I didn’t enjoy Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List nearly as much, partly due to mismatched expectations. This was a rare case where I really did want to read the same-book-only-different, but Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List is a very different novel. The title plainly telegraphs the impetus of the plot: if two people need to keep a list of people neither of them are allowed to kiss, it’s a sure bet that someone kissing someone is going to create conflict at some point. The list-keepers are Naomi, who, even though she has a boyfriend, is still nursing a long time crush on Ely, despite his being actively and unambiguously gay. When events force Naomi to confront the futility of her crush, they both react at least a little badly, and stoke the fires of respective grudges for several chapters. This is really my biggest problem with the novel: it’s not much fun to read about two people who obviously care about each other deeply being really mad at each other. Also, I thought both the gay boy-love-interest and the straight boy-love-interest were kinda dull. And whereas I thought Dash and Lily’s alternating narration worked very well, the multitude of first-person narrative voices here was a bit overwhelming; I think it would have been better to stick with the core four.

On the plus side, there is some courtship by mixtape, which invariably makes me go, “awwww!”. And Naomi and Ely are vividly portrayed. I just spent much of the book being kind of annoyed with them.

needs more demons? mmmmaybe.

Published by therealsummervillain

likes: equality, making things easier to use, biking, jangle, distortion, monogamy dislikes: bigotry, policies that jeopardize people, lack of transparency

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