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

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List
Title: Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List
Author: Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
Publication Date: August 28, 2007
Opening Sentence: “I lie all the time.”
Author Website (Cohn and Levithan) | Goodreads | Amazon

NAOMI AND ELY ARE BEST FRIENDS. Naomi loves and is in love with Ely, and Ely loves Naomi, but prefers to be in love with boys. So they create their “No Kiss List” of people neither of them is allowed to kiss. And this works fine – until Bruce. Bruce is Naomi’s boyfriend, so there’s no reason to put him on the List. But Ely kissed Bruce even though he is boring. The result: a rift of universal proportions and the potential end of “Naomi and Ely: the institution.” Can these best friends come back together again?

First and foremost, I love it when Rachel Cohn and David Levithan write together because they’re such a fantastic team. I actually haven’t read anything they’ve done separately (yet!), but that’s a discussion for a different day.

Next: Yes, there is a No Kiss List™. No, the book isn’t revolved around it. Rather, the book tells us about several different relationships from the point of view of several people throughout the book. I’m serious, people, there’s a lot going on in this book and it’s all very thorough. There are several stories at play in the novel, but fear not. It’s not confusing or hard to keep up with in the slightest. The main focus is Naomi and Eli and their lives, together and apart. The story is so easy to connect with because it’s something everyone deals with during his or her life. Friendships/relationships, loss of friendships/relationships, romance, loss of romance, finding your “true” self, et cetera et cetera. The story was engaging and so mundane in the best of ways. The events feel like they could have (or maybe have?) happened to you, and that makes everything extremely connectable.

I want to hop right over to the characters. Oh, man I loved Gabriel. I don’t even want to talk about anything else right now because Gabriel. Gabriel. Gabriel. Sure all the characters were good and I liked them all, but Gabriel shined the brightest to me. We didn’t get to see a lot of him (boo!) but you can tell from what was shown that he’s a very complex person. And though he seems very chill on the outside he has a lot of things buried underneath. Sigh, I loved Gabriel. Why wasn’t he one of the main characters? (I’m pouting right now, by the way.)

Speaking of the main characters: I wasn’t attached to either of them in the slightest. That, to me, was the biggest flaw in this book and the main thing keeping me from liking it any more than I ultimately did. Gabriel aside, there was nobody in the novel that would have kept me reading if the story were lacking. Luckily the story was engaging, but still… it’s a bummer not to have anyone to root for.

All in all I’m fine with having taken the time to read Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, but I don’t think I would recommend it to someone who isn’t hardcore in love with the contemporary branch of YA books.

P.S. There were symbols (like, instead of words) used all over Naomi’s point of view… I loved it.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

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