NAOMI AND ELY’S NO KISS LIST by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 28, 2007
Basic Plot: Naomi and Ely have been best friends since birth and nothing, not even Naomi’s father having an affair with one of Ely’s mothers can change that – or so they think. Naomi is totally straight, Ely is totally gay – Naomi is totally convinced that one day, Ely is going to marry her and their lives will be wonderful. All that changes when Ely kisses Naomi’s boyfriend, Bruce the Second. It’s not just that Ely and Bruce betray Naomi – it’s more that Naomi finally realizes that the life she planned will never be.
Surprisingly, I enjoyed this book. I say surprisingly because Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist didn’t leave me gushing and I thought (based on the title, cover and authors) that this title would sort of follow the first. Then, when I started reading, I picked up serious “Will & Grace” vibes – but I like that show, so I kept on going. What hooked me though, was Naomi’s character. Ely, I could give or take, but Naomi just felt real – like someone I used to know in college – she’s sassy, beautiful, smart, fun and utterly wrecked by the situation in which she has found herself. Probably what I most like about Naomi’s character is that she comes to terms the world around her and makes herself into a better person (takes a bit of control of her life and her mom’s, stops stringing along Bruce the First, and is just a genuinely good friend).
In response to your comment on my Storytime Source Page blog:
I, and many other children's librarians, adore Kid Tea as well...
The parents who were troubled by the story were taking it too literally (e.g. yellow water in the tub - tea - what might have made it yellow - the idea of drinking it).
You really can't please everyone. Think of how controversial some of the most fabulous children's books/authors are (e.g. Katherine Paterson, Roald Dahl, etc.)
Theresa, I adored this book. It's funny, but Naomi seems to be a real love her/ hate her type character. I find her very "real" and I'm just so impressed with these authors, individually and together.
Liz, I really tried to liked this book, but I just didn't feel it. Nothing really seems to happen in it, and I guess - Will and Grace aside - I couldn't stay with the notion that she ultimately saw them together when she's known him as gay all of their lives growing up together. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it by any means.
MR, I think why I was good with that part of the story is that I never believed that Naomi truly believed that she and Ely would be together; I think that was both her emotional security blanket (I have Ely) as well as a means to keep people from getting too close (Because I have Ely, Bruce is held at arms length). In a way, she was using him, or her dream of him, to create a coccon, rather than truly believing he is the love of her life.
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