Friday, September 13, 2013

Bookworming: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan Books

As if it hasn't been established in this blog already, I love YA (Young Adult) fiction. They're always easy, light, relaxing reads, even if they deal with serious issues. They also take me back to the carefree days of being a teenager, and give me a break in between heavy, adult books. 

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan are my two favorite authors. They've done three collaborations to date, and all have made it to my favorite books list. There's Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List, and Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. 

I first read Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist after the movie came out in 2008 -- one of those rare instances when I saw the film first before the book. Back then, David Levithan wasn't that well-known in this country yet, as these were the days before he collaborated with John Green. It was hard to find the book at the time, and I was lucky to find one copy at Fully Booked Shang. Now, of course, it's everywhere. 

The book is basically about two teenagers, Nick and Norah, who meet and fall in love within a span of 24 hours. The story takes us readers through New York's indie music scene, and we follow the characters to one Big Apple night spot after another while their story unraveled. It's an utterly witty, hilarious, and sweet book, set in the sometimes gritty, but always twinkling streets of NYC. 

After Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, I had to get Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List, Cohn and Levithan's second collaborative effort. It was harder to find and took me a while. If I remember correctly, I finally found it at Fully Booked High Street. 

It's sort of a Will & Grace kind of story, about a straight girl named Naomi and a gay guy named Ely who are best friends in New York. Like the first book, it takes the reader through New York City, this time around, to its numerous Starbucks locations and teen hangouts. Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List was more of a book about friendship than romantic love, and gave some very interesting insight on the dynamics of that kind of friendship. Like all Cohn-Levithan books though, Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List is fun and edgy and very touching. 

The last book, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, was the hardest to acquire. I kept checking the bookstores and just couldn't find it. I found it once but it was a really worn, torn copy. I'm kind of weird about buying new books -- they have to be crisp and pristine -- so I couldn't buy it. Then, around a couple of weeks ago, National Book Store and Bestsellers had a sale and suddenly there was so much stock of the book, and at only 99 pesos to boot! I snatched it up and devoured it immediately. 

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares is about two teenagers -- Dash and Lily -- who live in New York City and meet through a notebook. They struck up a connection through it, which takes both of them on a scavenger hunt through the Big Apple. Like the other Cohn-Levithan books, it gives the reader a tour around New York, which starts and ends at the Strand bookstore and goes through various equally charming locations. The story happens around Christmas time, which makes it such a wonderful, heartwarming, book that I wish I saved to read during the holidays. 

One awesome thing about the Cohn-Levithan books is that somehow, the authors found a way to connect the books to each other. Naomi & Ely references Nick & Norah, and Dash & Lily references Naomi & Ely. It was always a pleasant surprise for me to see the characters connect in an indirect, but very cool way. 

The original quote in Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

Nick & Norah reference in Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List
Naomi & Ely reference in Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Full circle: Nick & Norah reference in Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

What I love the most about this YA collab is that Rachel Cohn and David Levithan really know how to create fantastic characters with amazing chemistry. You just fall in love with them and become invested in them. I hope they keep on collaborating! The world needs more Cohn-Levithan books.

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