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To sum up: This is David Levithan's first collaborative novel. He wrote Nick while Rachel Cohn wrote Nora, two high school seniors on the loose for one long in Manhattan. They start out at punk clubs and end up in love at the Marriott Marquis. Nuff said on plot, because it's not really about plot.
It's about voices and a slice-o-life of this time period and place. Also about sex and drugs and rock-n-roll(although both protagonists are "straight-edge": no alcohol or other intoxicants). I loved the trip back to my favorite city on earth, and all the wit and music. Didn't love the "let's have sex after meeting each other four hours ago and fighting half the time: how romantic!" part. Also, it pales by comparison to Will Grayson, Will Grayson; I think that Cohn's considerably darker, whinier tone didn't stand up to Levithan's as well as John Green's did. Perhaps I shouldn't have read Nick and Nora so quickly after that wonderful YA novel.
***/5 for impact and style, and definitely a PG-13/R for sex and language. The plot's your typical romance with no particularly unique twists.
|Get it at indiebound.org.|
To sum up: Hugo's an orphan who lives in the secret passageways of a 1931 Paris train station, occupying himself by winding the clocks in his dead uncle's stead. One day, he has a run-in with the station's toy store owner, leading to a series of unusual events, two strong friendships, and a mysterious automaton who holds the clue to the toy-maker's past and Hugo's future.
Wonderful illustrations and steampunkish devices are by far the highlights here. The plot is interesting, but the writing, alas, is not. In fact, I found myself skipping the prose and just moving through the illustrated sections which truly shine here in their storyboard-esque black-and-white intensity.
***/5 for the intense charcoal (?) illustrations and the period details, and for piquing one's interest in the silent filmmaker Georges Melies. (My action was to check out some of his films on YouTube, especially his "A Trip to the Moon", noted as the first science fiction film, and to research his life.)
|Get it at Indiebound.org.|
To sum up: If you're an adult who's mean to a kid, beware the Giggler Treatment! It involves poo... Nuff said.
Young kids will LOVE this one as a read-aloud, with all its silly subversiveness and lightly scatological humor. My guess is that adults will enjoy it too as Doyle strikes the perfect balance between fun and family here. Talking dogs, chameleon-like pixies, and a sage in nappies round out the cast, so do go find it at the library. Your kids will thank me!
****/5 For laugh-out-loud silliness on nearly every page plus plenty of hilarious black-and-white illustrations. Could be a read-aloud for youngsters or a quick read-alone for elementary-age kids, depending on their reading level.
p.s. Actions: Going to look for the actual playlist of all the songs in Nick and Nora's. Did research on Georges Melies and watched some of his films. Scooped poop. No kidding: We don't have a dog right now, but our neighbor's dogs favor our front lawn. What we won't do for peace in The Polyp. (The Polyp = our neighbor Mark's nickname for the dogleg-off-a-dogleg we live on.)