What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there is constant swearing, including the f-word, the b-word, and some pretty creative combinations. Nick and Norah order virgin cocktails, but Norah's best friend is always drunk, and there are other references to drugs like marijuana and Ecstasy. The characters also mention Krispy Kremes, Oreos, McDonald's, Chuck Taylors, Xbox, and more. There is some pretty passionate kissing and groping between straight and gay characters, plus talk of other sexual experiences. In the end, this is a story about teens who are able to get past their past hurts and trust the instant connection that just may be true love.
What's the story?
In one long, angst-filled night, Nick and Norah meet, make out, discuss their heartbreaks, have a misunderstanding, make up, and make out again. They also see a lot of bands, have some seriously witty conversations, and do a lot of soul-searching.
Is it any good?
You can see why this book would make such a fun movie: It's got two well-defined characters (mouthy but insecure Norah and sweet but heartbroken Nick), fast-paced dialogue, plenty of drama, plus a punk NYC backdrop. Having the book take place in one night adds fun energy to the story -- as does having the chapters alternate between Nick and Norah. Chapters often end with a mini-cliffhanger, with the other protagonist swooping in to offer a new perspective -- and the details of their next adventure.
Readers may not always relate to the lives of these two Jersey teens. Norah, for example, the daughter of a wealthy music exec, says "I could be scoring weed in Tompkins Square Park right now, on my way to a bondage bar on Avenue D, and my parents would only applaud." And at some point in their long night together, Nick and Norah end up at "this place where strippers dressed like nuns and did this tease to 'Climb Every Mountain.'" But, they will have an easy time relating to these two characters who are obviously meant to be together, if they can get past their own heartbreaks and take that leap. Which you know they will, eventually -- sometime in the wee hours of the morning. Romantic teens will likely be willing to stay up all night reading just to see them jump.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about books that become movies. How do you think filmmakers decide which books to pick? Do the movies live up to your expectations? Why do you think the publisher decided to put out a new edition of this book with the movie characters on the cover? How does this cover shape your perception of Nick and Norah?
This book features lots of bad language -- and some racy scenes, including some major making out and a scene in an offbeat strip club. Do you think anything is off limits in today's young adult literature? Who should decide what is appropriate for teens to read?