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Ermahgerd. Berks.

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Caliban's War
James S.A. Corey
The Shining Girls

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn, David Levithan A few years ago I posted a far-too-personal blog on MySpace (ok, so maybe it was more than a few years ago) offering a retrospective analysis of select mortifying excepts from my circa-age 14 journal (note: not a diary). It's the only year I kept one, and thank god, because while it's perhaps worthwhile to have a snapshot of what I was thinking and feeling at that particular, tumultuous time in my life, what I was thinking and feeling was stupid and the way I went about putting it into words was even worse and no one should ever have to revisit their emotional idiocy in such stark and concrete fashion. Ever. As a rule, teenagers are not good at analyzing the world, or their feelings, or their feelings about the world. Because they are idiots.Take, for example, the lead characters of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist: they are idiots. This account of their madcap adventures, both sonic and sexual, across a very busy night in Manhattan during their senior year of high school is a lot of fun to read, but it's also excruciating, because it is written so accurately in the alternating dear-diary voices of a teenage boy and a teenage girl, respectively, and wow, you probably don't really want to be quite so inside a 17-year-old's mind, even one as seemingly jaded and witty as Norah, the cynical rich daughter of a recording industry exec who meets cute with tragically sensitive emo punk & damaged romantic Nick. Because all of her oh-so-learned insights about the world, which probably would have seemed really wise-beyond-her-years if she was real and I knew her when I was 17 myself and totally in love with her even though I would never actually say anything to her about my feelings? Self-centered, self-indulgent claptrap. And don't get me started on Nick: his chapters are even worse. Whether he's moping about his big breakup or waxing poetic about his new attraction to Norah, he sounds like nothing so much as if he is stringing together crappy lyrics from bad emo songs ("I open my mouth and she opens my mouth and it's like she's breathing right through me. And her body is wet and it's right against mine and I want, I want, I want."). There's this section where he goes on and on about how beautiful and wonderful it is to just stand out in the rain, to really be in the rain, you know? And this part is just so painful for me to read because my very own diary journal has a long section about how I was feeling confused and conflicted about this girl so I just went out at night and went rollerblading in the rain and it was just so quiet and true and man do I want to punch 14-year-old me in the face (though it did subsequently spark the creation of my own bad emo song parody, Rollerblading in the Rain, which goes like this: "Needing you/ wishing you/ hoping you/ wanting you/ is like rollerblading in the rain/ you might slip and fall but you'll/ pick yourself up again").So what exactly does it mean that N&NIP is written so accurately in the voices of its characters that it is regularly frustratingly twee and trite, because hey, what are the musings of teenagers if not twee and trite? It's like the Showgirls conundrum: is that a really really bad movie about a stripper, or is it a really really smart, intentionally bad genre parody? Either way, both entertainments are actually entertaining, even if I remain unconvinced of their genius, so I guess that's something.A side note about Nick & Norah: The Movie - I like it. I think it benefits from a more focused structure and a wider cast of characters to take the pressure off the occasionally insufferable leads. Plus it has a great soundtrack. On the other hand, the book doesn't have Michael Cera's terrifying face. Who expected he would grow up to so closely resemble The Penguin?Facebook 30 Day Book Challenge Day 13: Book whose main character is most like you. (Most like me as a teenager anyway.)