Review: Naomi and Eli’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan


I read this book as part of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2016 #18 – read a book that was made into a film, then watch the film. Decide which was better.

A word of warning – this book is a lot more adult than the title suggests. The book focuses on two main characters (Naomi and Eli) who are best friends living in New York. As Eli is a gay man and Naomi a straight girl, the pair foresaw that they may fall out over boys and so created a ‘no kiss list’ where they added any man who they both fancied. This should really have been called a ‘no sex list’ as Naomi and Eli are both college age and there are a number of references to more adult themes such as depression, sex (gay and straight), alcohol etc. Because of this, I found the book to be a little bit grittier than standard YA literature (not necessarily a bad thing).

My main issue with the book was that both Naomi and Eli (Naomi in particular) are self absorbed, self obsessed egomaniacs with very few redeeming features. I found it very hard to empathise with either of them. Also, Naomi uses emoji’s instead of words – call me old fashioned but I really hated this and found it really disrupted my reading flow.

In terms of the film, I found that it had followed the storyline of the book quite faithfully, except for some minor changes to the ending. I thought that the main characters had been made slightly more likeable  and the adult themes had been toned down, which made the whole thing a bit less gritty and a bit more family friendly. I thought the film was also more explicit in the way that key themes were explored so it was more obvious where the story was going.  

Overall, I actually preferred the film to the book (this is the first time that this has ever happened) although I would say that I wasn’t exactly enthralled with either. I think that the film has a more clear cut story and I was able to empathise with the main characters much more. Also, there was no annoying usage of emojis!

Overall rating book 5.5/10 film 6/10.  

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