Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List
by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
YA fiction. 230 pp.
Cohn and Levithan have teamed up again to pen a multi-viewpoint book. Naomi and Ely are best friends and have been for ages. Of course, there are complications. Mainly, Naomi is in love with Ely. Oh, and Ely is gay and is not in love with Naomi. This naturally leads to complications. And I must confess that I really, really did not like Naomi until the last few chapters of the book. But I imagine you can piece together my issues with her based on previous comments. In the end, Naomi finally realizes that Ely doesn't love her that way and never will, which helps her get over him and the drama created when Ely kissed and started dating her boyfriend. (Though Ely didn't pursue Bruce the Second, Bruce the Second wasn't technically on the No Kiss List—the list they created of people they're not allowed to kiss following the near destruction of their friendship following a Spin the Bottle makeout session—although it may be argued that by virtue of being Naomi's boyfriend, Bruce the Second was technically speaking off limits.)
So boy and girl fight. They drag their circle of friends through it as well. Lots of jealousy and stubborness. They realize how stupid they are for a number of reasons and begin to resolve and recreate their friendship. Yada yada yada.
What I like most about the book is the use of mulitple narrators. Aside from Ely's and Naomi's voices, you also have Gabriel and Bruce the First and Bruce the Second and Robin (Boy) and Robin (Girl). It's an intricate way of putting together the pieces of the story, and it works well. The thing I liked least was Naomi's incessant use of little icons as she's telling her story. Aside from the pictograms generally being too small and blobby looking, it was just obnoxious. God invented words for a reason.
The money passage for me came at the beginning of the last chapter.
I think about that as I head over to Bruce's, and I think that as hard as we try, it still sometimes feels like we all speak different languages. Even if we share all the same words, meanings can be different. And the mistake isn't in speaking the diferent languages, but in ignoring the fact. I thought Naomi and I had perfectly matched up our vocabularies and our definitions. But that's just not possible. There are always meanings that are different, words that are heard differently than they're said. Theren's no such thing as a soulmate . . . and who would want there to be? I don't want half of a shared soul. I want my own damn soul.I've been thinking quite a bit about communication over the last few weeks, and I think this was a good cherry for the top.