Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List

by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan


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Now a motion picture starring Victoria Justice!

From the New York Times bestselling authors of NICK & NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST, NAOMI AND ELY’S NO KISS LIST is the quintessential Girl-Likes-Boy-Who-Likes-Boys story.

Naomi and Ely are best friends. Inseparable since childhood. Naomi is straight. Ely is gay. Naomi dates guys who she claims to like. They’re okay, but she likes Ely more.
To protect their feelings, Naomi and Ely created a No Kiss List—a list of people neither of them is allowed to kiss under any circumstances. Naomi’s latest boyfriend Bruce isn’t on that list. But he probably should have been. Because when Ely kisses Bruce, it breaks Naomi’s heart. The result? A rift of universal proportions. Can these best friends come together again, or will this be end of Naomi and Ely: the Institution?

Told in alternating voices using an array of emoticons and symbols by co-authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, co-author of WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON with John Green (THE FAULT IN OUR STARS), NAOMI AND ELY’S NO KISS LIST is the ultimate offbeat story about leaving room for every kind of love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375844416
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 08/26/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 286,032
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile: 790L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Rachel Cohn's novels include Gingerbread, Shrimp, Cupcake, and Pop Princess. She lives and writes wherever she can find an outlet for her laptop.David Leviathan's novels include Boy Meets Boy, The Realm of Possibility, Are We There Yet?, and Wide Awake. He lives in New Jersey.

Read an Excerpt



I lie all the time.

I lied to Mrs. Loy from the fourteenth floor when I assured her that I walked her dog three times a day and watered her plants while she went to Atlantic City to win the money for her son’s sad operation (or for her own elective plastic surgery— I’m not sure).

I lied to the co-op board of my family’s apartment building about my mom’s episode that left our living room wall in partial collapse soon after Dad left. I also backed up Mom’s lies to the board that we’d pay for the damage. Monkeys will fly outta my butt before we’ll be able to come up with the money to fix the fallout. The way I figure, if Mom and I aren’t bothered living in ruins, why should the co-op board care?

I lied to the NYU Admissions Committee that I care about my future and my education. I’m barely a year out of high school, and already I know this NYU deal is a losing proposition. I live out the college freshman lie to hold on to the only thing in my life that’s not in ruins—Ely.

I lied to Robin (Å) from psych class when I assured her that Robin (Ä) from that time at the Starbucks at Eighth and University Y her and will call her. There’s no $$$ for me to move into the school dorms, and Robin’s a sophomore with a rare single who goes home on the weekends and lets me use her place when I need to escape The Building. The apartment building where I’ve lived my whole life may be situated on prime Greenwich Village real estate, but escape from it is my prime priority: escape from parent drama or my lies or Mr. McAllister, the creepy up-and-down elevator man who lives down the hall from Mrs. Loy and who’s been ogling me since I was thirteen and my breasts first announced themselves in the elevator mirror.

I’ve lied to Mom every time I’ve told her I’ve stayed the night at Robin’s when really I’ve stayed over at my boyfriend’s dorm room. I lie to myself that I need to lie about my whereabouts. It’s not like Bruce the Second and I are doing it. We’re more about a & in bed, then turn out the light, and —just sleep—’til he leaves in the morning for his accounting class. I lie to him that I think accounting is a worthwhile subject to study.

I lied to Robin (Ä) when he won our chess game in Washington Square Park after that time with Robin (Å), and the price of my loss was my supposed obligation to answer Truth to his midnight question. Robin said he’d watched five men trip over themselves from checking me out, while I merely glared at them. Robin wanted to know if I use my beauty for good or evil. Evil, I assured him. Lie. Truth: I’m as pure as fresh snow over Washington Square Park on a winter morning, before the dogs and people and machines of this hard, hard city batter its perfect, peaceful beauty.

I lied to Bruce the Second when I promised we would have sex, the real kind, soon. Very soon. We’d barely made it to ' when his R.A. walked in and interrupted us. It felt like cheating on Ely.

I lied to Bruce the First when I let him believe he would be my first. Ely is supposed to be first. I can wait. Then maybe I’ll let Bruce the Second truly be second.

I lied to the three different men and one girl at the Astor Place Starbucks who eyed me in the wall mirror today and then wanted to sit in the empty chair opposite mine. I pretended I didn’t hear them through my (headphones). They could go Ë themselves elsewhere. I placed my feet up on the empty chair, to reserve it for Ely. Only Ely.

Mostly, I lie to Ely. N lie to ee-lie.

Ely calls my cell while I lie in wait for him. “I’m running late. Be there in about fifteen minutes. Hold my chair for me. Love you.” He hangs up before I can reply. I lie to Starbucks that I even drink Starbucks while lounging around in their chairs, killing time.

We’ve already survived so much together, what’s fifteen minutes more to wait for him? His absence is time gained to spool my un-truths.

I lied to Ely when I told him I forgive his mom for what happened between our parents. I lied to Ely that I’m happy for him since his parents worked things out and stayed together even though mine didn’t and now my dad lives not in The Building anymore, far away.

I lied to my mom that the damage is done but it’s fine if she needs to take her time to process the fallout before she can find her future. I lied by comforting her that I believe she’ll make it through. It’s not that I don’t think she can. She just doesn’t want to.

I lie to all the related parties when I let them believe Dad calls my cell to check in on me every week. Once a month (the odd-numbered ones) is more like it.

Dad’s not worried about me. He knows I have Ely.

Ely rarely leaves me, or ends a phone call, without first telling me “I love you.” It’s Ely’s way of saying “good-bye”—like a promise toward our future time together. I lie when I throw back the words “I love you, too.”

The complexity embedded in the different levels of meaning that go along with the words “I love you” ought to be a whole mindfuck of a video game, if anyone ever wanted to develop the concept.

Player One: Naomi.

Level 1: “I love you” to my mom, meaning I love you for giving me life, nurturing me, driving me crazy but still inspiring me, even through your heartache. Basic.

Level 2: “I love you” to my dad, said with sincerity that’s tinged with coldness, distrustful whether he can actually deliver on the sentiment when he returns it. Harder.

Level 3: The playful “I love you” I throw at my boyfriend when he waits for me outside my class with a hot coffee and a donut. This grade of “I love you” is understood to have no intent whatsoever of L-O-V-E luuuv. Our relationship is too new for that, and he understands this, too. When Bruce the Second says “I love you” after I . . . do certain things with him, he is careful to immediately divert away, like “I love you when you yell at the frat guys making too much noise down the halls when we’re alone in my room. You give most excellent bitch tirade, and now all those guys only envy me more. I love you for that.” Whatever.

Levels 4–9: Expressions of passion for the great loves of my life, like disco music, Snickers bars, the Cloisters, the NBA, stairwell games, the luck to have a life lived with Ely.

Here’s where the game gets trickiest.

Level 10 (but on a whole other plane, where maybe numbers can’t even exist): When I tell Ely “I love you,” but I’m not lying to him. I’m lying to myself. He absorbs my words as if they’re natural, coming from his best friend / almost-a-sister. And Player One: Naomi does mean it that way. Genuinely. But maybe other ways, too. The confusing and impossible ways.

Game stalled.

Truth intrudes.

Lies are easier to process.

I lied to Ely that I’m okay with gay. I am. Just not for Ely. He was supposed to belong to me in the Happily Ever After. Manifest destiny.

I lied to Ely that of course I recognized his true manifest destiny was the queendom of queerdom and hadn’t that been obvious all along? Right! And great! Except not! We’ve practically been promised to each other from childhood, grew up side by side, his family in 15J, mine in 15K. Naomi & Ely. Ely & Naomi. Never one without the other. Just ask any- one within a ten-block radius of the Fourteenth Street Whole Foods, where the entire Indian hot-bar section witnessed the disaster fallout between our two sets of parents. Naomi & Ely: played doctor (Å) / nurse (Ä) together; learned how to kiss while rehearsing in private for the lead roles in our junior high production of Guys and Dolls together; shared a locker and their high school experiences together; and chose to attend NYU together, chose to remain side by side at home instead of move into the nearby dorms, for reasons of cost efficiency and of Naomi & Ely co-dependency.

When Ely finally finds me at Starbucks, he’s breathless and red-cheeked from running in the winter cold. He collapses into the chair I’ve reserved for him.

I hand Ely the hot chocolate the Starbucks manager comped me. “Get up,” I tell him. “We gotta go.”

“Why, Naomi?” he pleads. “Why? I only just got here.”

I grab his free hand and we’re off, right back outside onto the cold, hard pavement, where we immediately fall into the typical Naomi & Ely routine of hand-and-cup-holding, hurried-walking-and-talking-while-maneuvering-through-sidewalk-people lockstep.

“Trust me,” I say.

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Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 64 reviews.
8114 More than 1 year ago
Naomi and Ely¿s No Kiss List, written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, details the friendship between Naomi and Ely. Two best friends from New York, who have been living across the hall from each other since they were kids. The novel pulls the reader in from the first line, with Naomi saying, ¿I lie all the time.¿ She lies to everyone but Naomi says, ¿mostly, I lie to Ely.¿ This is because she is in love with. She dreams about where they will get married, their house they will live in, and their child. However, the only problem is Ely is gay. This causes problems for them. So in order to keep their friendship from falling apart, Naomi and Ely created the No Kiss List. The No Kiss List is the ¿insurance against a Naomi and Ely breakup.¿ However, when Ely kisses Naomi¿s boyfriend, Bruce the second, their friendship turns upside down. Ely is oblivious to Naomi¿s feelings for him however, thinking that kissing Bruce the second was the reason for their breakup. Although, the real reason is that Naomi finally realizes that her dreams of a romantic relationship with Ely will never come true, which leaves her devastated. Rachel Cohn and David Levithan message of the novel is that soul mates come in many form whether it be romantic or platonic. In addition, they prove that maybe ¿if you¿re lucky---and if you try really hard---there will always be more than one¿ soul mate.

The way David Levithan and Rachel Cohn wrote this novel is interesting because it is written from many different characters such as Naomi, Ely, Robin (male), Robin (female), Bruce the first, Bruce the second, and Kelly. Although many would think this is confusing, it really is not that hard to keep track of. This is because all the character sound so different from one another, and act differently. In addition, the writing style Cohn and Levithan use for each character is different as well. For example when the Naomi is speaking symbols are used sometimes instead of words. Also, I liked how the novel, even though it is written from many perspectives, all discuss Naomi and Ely¿s breakup. However, the authors also incorporate many subplots about the other characters lives and relationships.

I would recommend this novel to at least high school age students. This is because of the expletive language the authors use. However, once you get past the language you see the true beauty of the novel, which is the message of friendship, and accepting people for who they are. This is because it does not matter whether a person gay, straight, or just wears bad clothes, because a person is entitled to their own beliefs.

I really enjoyed this book because it showed that a person could have many soul mates. However, I did not like that the novel never pointed out that you should never lie to yourself about your own feelings, because keeping them hidden can create problems within yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Naomoi and Ely¿s No Kiss List, perfectly describes the relationship between highschool teenagers. Naomi and Ely have always been best friends. They have lived across the hall from each other since they could talk. They share everything from secrets to clothes. They¿ve survived the toughest situations in their lives like when Naomi¿s parents get divorced. They both joke about how but they love each other and all the spots that they are going to get married in and Naomi has always been under the impression that she will marry and Ely. However, there is just one slight flaw in Naomi¿s plan... the fact that Ely is flamingly gay. But this doesn¿t stop Naomi she continues to believe that Ely will overcome his ¿gayness¿ and start loving her. To avoid drama the duo has developed over the years the no kiss list. This list composes of people that are off limits two both Naomi and Ely and they understand that no compromises can be made as to kissing someone on the list.

Recently the duo has graduated highschool and are currently freshman at NYU.
Naomi has been dating a guy named Bruce whom she met are her first college party and everything seems like its going well. Until Naomi is late for a date and he is forced to spend time alone with Ely. At first Bruce feels awkward with Ely because he feels like he doesn¿t fit in but just then, Ely kisses him. This brings up totally new emotions in Bruce and Ely. Bruce is scared at first but realizes that he is into Ely, of course this rips Naomi¿s heart out. Naomi can¿t believe that Ely would ever betray her like that, even if her boyfriend wasn¿t on the no kiss list, she thought that Ely would have enough common sense not to make a move on her boyfriend. As to be expected Naomi is furious and begins making rules about what time her and Ely use the elevators and get their mail, so they can avoid each other at all costs. Naomi goes as far as claiming which starbucks are hers. Naomi is ready to clean Ely out of her life forever, but is Ely? Can their friendship outlive this roadblock? Well you¿ll just have to read the book to find out .

Overall, the book is only decent. The authors use symbols in place of some words and they can be very hard to decipher for the exact meaning that they intended. Also, every chapter is written my a different character which can get pretty confusing. The book can be quite predictable but then it the authors throw a curveball. They authors also use a lot of language so, if you¿re sensitive to that kind of stuff i definitely wouldn¿t recommend reading the book. I feel like is book is more geared towards girls but I would recommend it to any teenager who wants to read a book about the ups and downs of friendship.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Naomi and Ely have grown up across the hall from each other in their Manhattan apartments. They have been together forever and know every detail about each other. Naomi knows that she and Ely will grow up to be married, have children, and live happily ever after.

Even if Ely is gay.

However, as many of us find out, life rarely turns out the way people plan. Parents don't always stay married, we don't always marry the person we love the most, people don't always keep promises, boys don't always love girls, and soul mates don't really exist. No matter how much you think they do. No matter how desperately you want them to. Life just doesn't happen that way. And really, should it?

This story is told in chapters of varying points of view. Your heart races, it aches, and it loves while you are brought into the world of lovable but flawed characters.

One of the biggest questions that comes up again and again is: How does one go on with life when everything they once knew and once planned on is no longer possible?
fyrefly98 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: Naomi and Ely have been neighbors and best friends for most of their lives. Naomi sees no reason why they shouldn't spend the rest of their lives together as well, plans that are only temporarily derailed by the fact that Ely's gay (he'll get over it and realize he's meant to be with her, she's sure). However, when Ely kisses Naomi's boyfriend - and Naomi's boyfriend kisses back - the harsh truth comes crashing home, and the formerly inseperable duo are now no longer on speaking terms. It's a horrible fight, but each must somehow adapt to life without their other half until they can find a way back to what they had... if going back is even worth it.Review: Cohn & Levithan do a lot of things right in Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List, and they get a lot of things right, but they didn't quite recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle reading experience that was Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. I think that's because in Naomi & Ely's, they tried to widen their focus but wound up overreaching. Not in terms of the plot - the best-friend break-up is a fine subject, and one that's certainly germane to a lot of teenagers' lives - but in terms of the number of viewpoints they tried to pack into this relatively slim book. Obviously I was expecting Naomi and Ely, but Bruce the Second (Naomi's then Ely's boyfriend) got almost as many pages as either of the two titular characters, plus there were chapters from the POV of Bruce the First, Gabriel the hot doorman, Bruce the First's sister, girl Robin, boy Robin, etc., and the end result felt kind of fragmented, with segments and sub-plots that weren't as well-developed as they could have been.On the flip side of the too-many-POV-characters problem is that there were a multitude of characters to sympathize with when both of the leads were being insufferably bratty. I understand that both Naomi and Ely's becoming less self-involved and immature is the main character arc, and probably the point of the book, but it still meant that for large chunks of the story, I just wanted to smack both of the leads in the head and tell them to stop acting like obnoxious children. (Recognizably obnoxious, though; I'm sure some of my teenaged behavior was no better.) I think by the end, Bruce the Second wound up being my favorite character - he was definitely the one I understood and sympathized with the most, being much less inherently drama queen-y than either Naomi or Ely, despite going through just as radical of a change in his world. However, despite the overabundance of shifting viewpoints and other minor annoyances (I really could have lived without Naomi inserting wingdings instead of words throughout her chapters), I did quite enjoy this book. It is funny as hell in points, and really poignant in others, and the best thing about it is that it has a great way of capturing moments that are emotionally true, in language that is simultaneously beautifully observed and still genuine to the teenage experience. 4 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: Not quite as good as Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist or Will Grayson, Will Grayson, although it's similar to both, but anyone who enjoys contemporary YA novels should definitely pick all three of them up.
MeriJenBen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On the surface, this book seems a lot like Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist. It has the alternating points of view, the fabulous New York lifestyle that I suspect only exists in teen novels, and two people trying to get their lives started.That's where the similarities end however, because Ely and Naomi are childhood friends, and they created the No-Kiss list when it became clear that Ely liked some of the same boys as Naomi. However, even though Ely is gay, Naomi can't give up on the idea that one day, he'll love her the way she loves him. Their whole world comes crashing down when Ely breaks the rules and kisses Bruce the Second, Naomi's current boyfriend. Naomi has to deal with Ely's betrayal, and more importantly, come to grips with the idea that he's never going to be what she wants. Ely realizes, maybe for the first time, what it is to really fall in love.When I started reading this book, my first reaction was, "it's not as good as Nick and Nora" -- and in a lot of ways, I still think that's true. Ely and Naomi are a lot less likable, and they have a complicated back-story that never really gets the attention it deserves. Also, aside from the two main characters there are other points of view included, and many of these characters just seem like they're along for the ride -- their contributions don't do much to move the plot along or help the reader understand the situation.However, when I got to the end of the book, I felt like crying. Not that the ending is sad, necessarily, but I really felt for these two people, and what they had lost, and what they were facing in the future. Kearsten once said that nobody writes falling in love like David Levithan, and she's right; the relationship between Bruce the Second and Ely is very sweet and very fragile. Even Naomi, who I pretty much disliked on sight, turns out to be more than she seems.So, while I wouldn't say that Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List is one of my favorite books, it is very compelling. Not as wonderful as Nick and Nora... but still good.
camelliacorner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very long winded. It will be interesting to see whether the Australian teenager picks up on this book. Can be difficult to follow the line of thinking. It's about a relationship that goes wrong and where it leads to, how it affects the various players in the scene
emma_mc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An delightfully fresh book about modern teens (and BFFs) Naomi and Ely. Naomi is in love with Ely, and Ely is gay. The best friends begin to fall apart when Ely kisses Naomi's boyfriend. Both main characters are irresistible. The story is set in NYC, each chapter with an alternating narrator. Great premise, and a quick, adorable read.
calexis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved it, loved it, loved it. I absolutely loved reading the authors' first novel, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and was not disappointed with this novel of theirs. It was a good book about love, coming out, lust, family, and all the complications with all that. It was funny and quirky and charming and amusing. The two writers manage to create another beautiful pairing. I can't wait to watch Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. =)
strandedon8jo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I finished Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List about a week ago and boy oh boy did I dislike Naomi. I know she has issues to deal with, and as such, perhaps I'm supposed to cut her some slack, but wow, she's horrible. I truly hated reading the chapters told from her perspective. Plus, being a bit of a grammar nerd, I really hated the use of icons throughout Naomi's narrative. So painful. It hurt my brain a little! Just another reason to hate her, I guess.Thankfully, unlike Nick and Norah, this collaboration isn't told from the alternating perspectives of the two titular characters, but rather from a number of different characters. And that, for me, saved the book. If I had been forced to read half the book for Naomi's point of view I'm sure I would have felt a great deal of wrath. But as it were, the narratives in the other voices really resonated with me. Especially the voice of Bruce the Second. He's lovely.On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Not quite as much as Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist but enough to finish it in one sitting. Two thumbs up!
4sarad on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was really underwhelmed by this book. I can't even pick out for sure what was wrong with it.... it just took me forever to read and almost became a chore to pick back up. Maybe it's that I think Naomi should have come to grips earlier that Ely is gay and will always be gay and won't run off and marry her. I like books that switch narrators and POV, but it didn't seem like there was much point in it at times in this book. All of the sudden one of the Robins would narrate and I coiuldn't care less about what they had to say. Anyways, I definitely wouldn't read it again and I'm not sure I know anyone who I would recommend it to.
chibimajo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This one didn't grab me as much as Nick and Norah did. Naomi and Ely have been best friends since they were very little. Naomi has been in love with Ely, who is gay, for almost as long. Their friendship takes a turn for the worse when Ely steals Naomi's boyfriend. This makes Naomi realize that Ely will never love her the way she loves him and forces her to confront her feelings and sort out her life.
callmecayce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, so I think my expectations were pretty high for Cohn and Levithan's second novel. Possibly too high at first, because while I found the plot interesting (Naomi loves Ely, Ely loves Naomi, but Ely loves boys more -- in brief. The book is so much more than that, though), I just couldn't get into, well, Naomi. But I progressed, mostly because I love the authors' style -- alternating points of view. Where Nick & Norah only had two points of view, Naomi and Ely had, well, lots. You have the exboyfriends, the best friends, the friends and, of course, Ely and Naomi. One of the things that kept me reading is the writing style. Cohn and Levithan do a fantastic job of integrating their styles, you don't know who is writing which part, and it doesn't matter. The book flows, just like Nick and Norah and, when all is said and done, I loved it. My problem was that I expected it to be like Nick and Norah, and it's (thankfully) not. This story is much more about hurt and love and loss (and everything in between), which is what makes it so good. You're not supposed to sympathize with Naomi (except for when you feel sorry for her -- especially since I've known people like her) and you're supposed to adore Ely. And then everything gets flipped upside down, which is perfect, too. I think what makes this novel especially good is that you get everyone's point of view, but you don't get all points of view. There's no omniscient narrator, just because you know what someone is thinking, doesn't mean that you know what everyone's thinking about that one scene. Sure, there's a lot of overlap, but it's good. Really, really good. I hope that Cohn and Levithan write more books together, because I cannot wait to read them.
verbafacio on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Naomi has been secretly in love with her gay best friend Ely for years. Now they are both in college, and their relationship reaches a breaking point when Ely kisses Naomi's boyfriend Bruce. They must come to terms with their friendship to have a future together.Cohn and Levithan collaborate to put together a unique novel with multiple narrators. Everyone at all involved with the story weighs in, which is both intriguing and at times confusing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had higher expectations for this book after reading others by these authors. It was long and drug out, some chapters were just long long run ons. I barely finished it without giving up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
umm well i started to get a little confused. I dont like the fact that its written in the perspective of like a dozen different people
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LOVETali More than 1 year ago
This book is beautiful. While I admit that the narration and the symbols Naomi uses are cool, the most amazing thing about this book is the story itself and the amazing writing. One of the most quotable books ever.
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