But I think that's one of the reasons that nick & norah's infinite playlist is so amazing. Over the course of one night, in a mere 182 pages with alternating narrators, which really means that Nick's story and Norah's story are actually told in less than 100 pages each (!), Levithan and Cohn create two complex, genuine, flawed, passionate characters with individual, distinctive voices. And they are ardent in the way they speak and act. They talk like teens and swear like teens and, after their first staged kiss, they have a couple of passionate encounters. These are not graphically detailed and they do not have sex, but the two other kissing scenes (three, if you count an instructive session from Tris) are described in a way that captures the awe and nervousness and emotion of the moments in a lovely way.
YA book are are a favorite of mine, and I have read far more YA books than I have had the time to review here. Working in a bookstore for so long and being able take my pick of books, I became weary of adult fiction. While I (mostly) wanted to read books with literary value, I grew tired of reading about ruined lives, sad circumstances and people being awful to each other when they should really know better. And, I got tired of the sex in adult books. I guess YA books that feature romantic relationships are a sweet spot for me because everything is still on the new and hopeful side for the characters. They are working things out and making mistakes, but usually not the crushing mistakes that adults in works of fiction seem to make. And, when they do have romantic encounters they are also new and hopeful and often off the page. Cohn and Levithan also wrote Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List (review to come) and Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, which is as sweetly romantic as nick & norah's infinite playlist is gritty and passionate. What I love about all of these books are the characters and watching their friendships and romances unfold over the course of a night, a year in Paris or a cross-country road trip. They think about how they feel, what they want and why they wants it and, best of all, they get to know each other as friends and build that foundation before they take things any farther. Other favorite YA romances of mine that embody these qualities are Anna and the French Kiss (a year in Paris) by Stephanie Perkins and Don't Stop Now (a road trip) by Julie Halpern.