"He’s working the ironic punk boy–Johnny Cash angle too hard to be a ’mo. Jersey-boy bassist with Astor Place hair who wears torn-up, bleach-stained black jeans and a faded black T-shirt" is the accurate analysis of Nick by Norah's intensely radiographic girly mind. Her boyfriend Tal and best friend Caroline have made her believe she's possibly frigid and she expresses her fear of being the Tin-Woman in a exhaustive series of internal monologues throughout the novel. She is horribly confused expressing her sexuality with boys, auto-defining herself as a "horrid bitch from the planet Schizophrenia", although she's actually a Jewish valedictorian princess from Englewood Cliffs, a record company CEO's spoiled daughter. Norah had only kissed Tal and Becca Weiner from summer camp until this Saturday. Norah is a lonely creature who only trusts her archive of My So-Called Life episodes as a guide to her romance record.
(We must remember that romance heroines in the literature were princesses, duchesses, or other ladies of the court; "Romance" originally referred to the vernacular French language called romanz. In the 12th century, literature written down in romance was intended to distinguish from official Latin literature. So we could say this romance genre started as an alternative variety, the same "indie" stream Nick and Norah try to rout out.)
Norah often feels trapped because she's hesitating applying for Brown University and her undesired future with Tal, who made her awful playlists filled with YMA Sumac crap and belittled her on a regular basis.
The descriptions of the concerts, mosh pits, communal hardcore energy, and reactions of the underground punk scene are realistically dirty and deafening, allowing us feel the giddiness of sliding into a gigantic pulsating wave from a loud station, fulminating our ears and shrinking our stomachs. I liked the references to random Weezer fans, the hint of dialogue from the film Heathers and memorabilia of rock classics — not very beloved by Norah — as well as to the Beatles, Patti Smith or Lou Reed.
Cohn and Levithan avoid gracefully ribald situations typical of punchy punky teen romance scenarios. Instead, they pen a wonderful vérité representational portrait of insecure personalities plagued with low-esteem and erotical euphony.