Monday, December 27, 2010

Review: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Young Adult Contemporary
Knopf Books/October 2010

From the inside cover ~

I've left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the pages.
If you don't, put the book back on the shelf please.

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dates, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and red notebook) of their own.

What a pleasure to read. I thoroughly enjoyed Dash and Lily's unconventional romance. They are two teens with different views of Christmas and what it all means to them. They discover each other through a simple red, moleskin notebook. It's that discovery that was such a fun adventure for both the characters and this reader.

Lily is in love with Christmas. She easily gets into the spirit of the holiday, even when her parents decide to vacation in Fiji, leaving Lily and her older brother Langston home in New York City. I thought that was cold of her parents, they should have waited until new years to go. But they didn't and Lily is more or less left on her own since Langston invites his boyfriend Benny over. Then Lily gets a response from the notebook and she's sent on an adventure to places she normally wouldn't go.

Dash is a teenage version of Scrooge. He's not a people person so the idea of New York City during Christmas holds no appeal for him. He has become disenchanted with the holiday and has no intention of celebrating. His parents are divorced and each believe Dash is spending the holidays with the other. So he's on his own. He's a very bookish, geeky guy who loves spending time at the Strand, the monolithic bookstore in New York City. If I ever get there, that's where I'm going first!

As Lily and Dash write their dares in the notebook, trading it back and forth, they come to realize that it's not only freeing to come up with the dares, it's also freeing to accept and complete the dares. They both escape their comfort zones and explore parts of the city they previously knew little about.

The story does have some sober moments. Lily missing her parents, feeling lonely during this time when families tend to spend together. Dash, missing his mom, loathing his dad and having given up on family togetherness a long time ago. I felt sorry for both of them, for Dash, being alone and thinking that's what he wants. And Lily being stuck with her brother, who has little time for her. Lily, wanting so much to be happy and wanting her family together.

There was also much laughing on my part. Both Dash and Lily have a well-developed aptitude for teenage irony. Add in some slap-stick comedy and you have a very entertaining read. The secondary characters also added some flavor to the story. Dash's good friend Boomer playing straight man to Dash's snarky humor. Lily's extended family giving her advice whether she wants it or not.

A very satisfying read full of quirky humor, book nerds and a city full of entertaining places to explore, even for New Yorkers.

Rating: A-


  1. Thanks for the review. I so want to read this one and I'm glad to see that it's getting such good reviews all over blogland. Woot!

  2. Rowena ~ I'm not surprised at the positive reviews - it really was a fun, adventurous romance. :)

  3. I ADORED this book, too, Leslie. I loved the writing, the characters, the artsy-bookish feel to it, that it takes place in Manhattan and the little romance, too. This is just the kind of story that would appeal to Maria. I'm making her read it this week before she goes back to school and has no time to read for fun. I even plugged it to one of her friends in the car the other day. LOL!

    I want to go to The Strand, too! Maybe I'll make a mother-daughter trip out of it with Maria when she finishes it. : )

  4. Christine ~ It was such a fun read! It really made me want to visit the places Dash & Lily went to. That would be a fun mom/daughter trip!

  5. Ohhh, Christine left a comment in my blog about this book! I'm adding it to my list, Leslie. :D

  6. Thank you Leslie for reviewing this book. I got it and I thought it was very cute!!! Till the part where they met ^_^; I guess I wished it'd remained idyllic, you know :) Still, great book!!