Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List Book Poster Image
Edgy book about cool city kids is only mildly fun.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value
Positive Messages

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

Positive Role Models & Representations

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


Naomi is a virgin but still kisses, fools around. Gay Ely is sexually adventursome (at one point, he asks his boyfriend to lick whip cream off him).


Lots of sexual language; some profanity, such as "f--k."


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 answers the "ganja hotline."

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymoviemadness April 8, 2009

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... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bybabybluee31195 August 19, 2009

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 ca... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byhaitianlove12 April 9, 2008

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?

This is just an average book, and while there are great moments, readers may get bored before they get there. 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.

Talk to your kids 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?

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