Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book Review: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

“I was horribly bookish, to the point of coming right out and saying it, which I knew was not socially acceptable. I particularly loved the adjective bookish, which I found other people used about as often as ramrod or chum or teetotaler.” ― David LevithanDash & Lily's Book of Dares

Synopsis: “I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

. . . 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 dares, 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?

Dash and Lily are two very different New York City teenagers whose lives become entangled by a red Moleskine notebook. Together they search for the meaning of family, love and the power of words. Dash and Lily is a quirky, fun contemporary that I think would be perfect for  Christmas time.

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares is the sophomore contemporary romance from the writing duo best known for Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. I've never read any of Rachel Cohn, but from the two Levithan novels I've read this is exactly what I expect. A great novel with an interesting premise and a few laughs along the way. 

The novel is written from two different perspectives. Dash is the snarly, bookish boy who believes he  wants nothing more than to be alone during the holidays. Lily is a shrilly girl, who wants nothing more to have her family together for the perfect classical Christmas. Through the novel they learn to grow from what they think they want and experience a whole new side of the holidays.

Cohn and Levithan capture the theme of teenaged insecurities very well in the novel. The characters go through wondering if they are good enough and how they live up to others. The novel discusses  how we really are and how idealized ourselves and others to be.

This novel is the perfect "Christmas in New York City" story taking us from F.A.O Schwartz ,The Strand Bookstore, the Dyker Heights light festival and more.

I have to say, I'm not a big fan of the title, because they aren't doing dares.The audiobook was very good, both actors were solid and brought the authors words to life. However, it was kind of weird hearing the different actors interpretations of the other character.  The female made Lily more spazzy while she was more confident when done by the male voice.

 Cohn and Levithan are an amazing writers and their narratives work well together. There writing style is flawless. I think a lot of authors can tell good stories, but really good writing is hard to come by. I really liked this passage, which I had to cut short because it's mildly spoilery: 

"In a field, I am the absence of field. In a crowd, I am the absence of crowd. In a dream, I am the absence of dream. But I don't want to live as an absence. I move to keep things whole. Because sometimes I feel drunk on positivity. Sometimes I feel amazement at the tangle of words and lives, and I want to be a part of that tangle..."

There are just so many great lines in this book.  Dash and Lily are full and completely realized characters with flaws and perfections. They are surrounded by a great cast of characters and plot that move the story along in a dynamic and fun way. This is a truly enjoyable novel.

I will say this book got really quirky and random towards the end. The whole time the novel was mildly believable, but towards the end it felt like it was kind of leaving all realism. I did  love how this book ended. I thought it was perfect and of course I like a novel that bookends the beginning and end in some way.

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares is a fast paced feel good novel about the things we anticipate in life and the things that surprise us.


  1. I absolutely loved this book too. Their collaborations are awesome. Great review!

  2. I really fell into this book. I loved both characters, but most especially Dash. And I thought the whole thing was just clever. The romance was sweet and intense. It just worked! :)

    1. Oh, that's the perfect way to describe it--the book is very clever!

  3. Glad you love this book. I've been dying to read this! Seriously! I mean, the fancy title sure did its job and the cover is just so so so so CUTE! Gah! You just made me want to read this book so bad. Great review! :D

    Fara @ Tumbling In Books

  4. Great Review! This book sounds so awesome, and thanks to your review I cannot wait to check it out.


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