Naomi + Ely’s No Kiss List
Author: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Naomi and Ely, best friends, who grew up in the same building and went through everything together, even the divorce of Naomi’s parents, though that’s partly because her dad slept with one of Ely’s moms. That’s only the tip of the it’s complicated train. Naomi is irrevocably in love with Ely and dreams that one day they’ll get married. A slight hitch? Ely’s gay.
Naomi and Ely created a No Kiss List of people so that they never get into a fight. And then Ely break that list by kissing Naomi’s current boyfriend. Cue the explosion. This epic betrayal tests their friendship and both wonder: will they ever get past this? Can they get past this?
Now, I couldn’t get fully on board with this book for a couple of reasons. It was a nice book about two friends needing to see where they could go and fit into the world without each other, but it struggled at doing even that. Cue Spoiler: I couldn’t get past how neither character could take the responsibility for anything they did wrong. While it’s ridiculous that I say this, I couldn’t handle how self-absorbed they were either. Their disregard for people around them was a bit unbearable, but that didn’t make the book terrible. Not at all. I just didn’t like the characters. It happens sometimes.
However, the in-depth and personal look at lifelong friendship was intense and really made me question if friendship really can withstand anything. This book is a great example of how gut-wrenching heartache can be when it’s caused by somebody you’ve shared everything with and trust with your entire being.
I love-love-loved the way this was written with emojis, and through other characters’ POV. The emojis made the book more fun and kept in touch with how the characters communicate while also bringing the reader to the modern day of technology. The use of other characters’ POVs (point of view) gives the reader great perspective to not only how the main characters are imploding, but to how the outside characters are affected by it as well. It puts the reader with them as if they live in the building with Naomi and Ely, making them a part of the drama.
The heartache stays with you. It comes from every direction-friends, family, lovers and even crushes, bringing real issues to the front line, like divorce, financial problems, identity crisis, and more. Which, shows that sometimes a heart can’t be completely repaired no matter how much you love somebody and that people change even when you don’t realize it right away.
“Buffy could be a bitch, but cut the girls some slack—she once had to kill her true love in order to save the world. I get it, Naomi. You’re like Buffy.” (Gabriel to Naomi, p. 118)
(I know, me and the Buffy gifs. Can you tell I’m a fan?)
“…even though I really liked her as a person, I didn’t really think I liked her as a girl, because when you like a girl, there’s this ignition—you can feel it—and with her, there wasn’t any ignition…” (Boy Robin, p. 156)
“You didn’t think it would be easy, did you?” (Neal to Ely, p. 198)
“It’s like Naomi always used to say: Life tells you to take the elevators, but love tells you to take the stairs.” (Ely, p. 209)
More to come soon…
P.S. Song today? Secrets by OneRepublic.