Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List

Common Sense Media says

Edgy book about cool city kids is only mildly fun.

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Well, this is pretty fluffy but IT IS STILL A BOOK and maybe kids will enjoy reading it and look for another title. Look at our "Families Can Talk About" section if you want to help your kids sharpen their critical thinking skills a bit.

Positive messages

Ultimately, Naomi learns that she needs to stop living in a fantasy world, and Ely realizes that
real relationships -- romantic and not -- require work.

Positive role models

Sometimes these protagonists just seem mean: They use people, are rude to them, and can even be cruel to one another. But they are sensitive, too, and ultimately they learn valuable lessons and grow up.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Naomi is a virgin, but still kisses, fools around. Gay Ely is promiscuous (at one point, he asks his boyfriend to lick whip cream off him, and later flashes a bouncer to get into a drag queen performance at a club).

Language

Lots of sexual language; some profanity, like the f-word.

Consumerism

Starbucks, Orbit gum, The Gap, mention of prescription sleep medications, alcohol brands.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Main characters drink to drunkenness. There are drug references, including a character who mans the "ganja hotline."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the two protagonists swear, get drunk, and are mean to one another. Naomi is a virgin, but still kisses and fools around. Her gay best friend Ely is more promiscuous (at one point, he asks his boyfriend to lick whipped cream off him, and later flashes a bouncer to get into a drag queen performance at a club). There is some strong language and drug use.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Straight Naomi knows her best friend Ely is gay, but she still thinks that they will one day get married and live happily ever after. This fantasy -- and their lifelong friendship -- is shattered when Ely kisses (and begins a relationship) with Naomi's boyfriend.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Readers may be initially drawn to Naomi and Ely because they are so cool: They are beautiful, dress funky, and their conversations are full of fun turns, swear words, and energy -- and they are living in the same cool neighborhood in cool New York City, going to cool New York University. Naomi even cleverly peppers her narration with cute little icons. The premise, too, is hip and engaging. But as the fight between the two protagonists intensifies, readers will begin to wonder if they couldn't redirect their angst into something a bit less shallow.

Part of the problem may be that there are so many different narrators in this book, from a sensitive doorman to the boy who first causes the fight between the two protagonists. Maybe if the authors had just stuck to Naomi and Ely, we would have learned to like them better. Instead, they just seem mean: They use people, are rude to them, and can even be cruel to one another. They ultimately do learn some valuable lessons, though: Naomi learns that she needs to stop living in a fantasy world, and Ely realizes that real relationships -- romantic and not -- require work. Readers will be impressed that the authors offer up some complex lessons instead of a pat reconciliation. In the end, this is just an average book, and while there are great moments -- like that inevitable reconciliation, which is quite tender -- readers may get bored before they get there.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the edgy material in this book. Beyond the swearing, there is some racy sexual material here as well, like when Ely asks his boyfriend to lick whipped cream off of him. What makes a book Young Adult? Is there a limit to what is acceptable in books for teens?

  • Talk about the pros and cons of co-authoring a book (Levithan and Cohn also wrote other books, including Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist together). Do you think writing this way would be helpful or frustrating? Do you think men can create better male characters and women better female characters?

Book details

Authors:David Levithan, Rachel Cohn
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Random House
Publication date:August 28, 2007
Number of pages:240

This review of Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bymoviemadness April 8, 2009
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

So-So Book About Gay/Straight Friends

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List is boring, sex-filled, and slightly catty. Best friends (straight) Naomi and (gay) Ely keep a list of people that neither are allowed to kiss to preserve their friendship. Unfortuately, Naomi wants to kiss Ely. Catfights, sex-talk, and some very wierd scenarios ensue. Worth it for a rainy afternoon.
Teen, 14 years old Written bybabybluee31195 August 19, 2009
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Good life teachings

I think although this book has many swears and some sexual content helps a straight and gay person learn a lot about themselves by the end of the book, which can leave the reader with some positive outlooks on their own personal lives and advice on how to love yourself, great book
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Teen, 14 years old Written byhaitianlove12 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

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