Friday, December 23, 2011

Book Review: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

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

Hardcover272 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by Knopf Books for Young Readers


“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.” 

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Timesbestselling 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 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? 

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

Today is the day before the day before Christmas (as Lily would call it). Thus the holiday spirit is flowing from every pour. Presents are wrapped and under the tree. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is playing on loop on my iPod, and I simply cannot get I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas out of my head. We will soon sit down to make Christmas cookies made in the shapes of Christmas trees, snowmen, and Santa. And I am currently enjoying a cup of coffee festive with holiday creamer. It is Christmas time. 

Ergo, it seemed utterly inappropriate to read a book about vampires or apocalypses, which is what led me to read, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. Unfortunately, it didn't last me until Christmas as I devoured it one day. 

It is the charming tale of two people who meet via a red moleskine notebook days before Christmas. They send each other on a whirlwind race through New York City and fill the notebook with confessions. Lily, an avid lover of Christmas, is left alone this year and hates it. Dash, an avid hater of Christmas, connived a way to be alone this year and loves it. Though neither is truly alone as they have the words in the book for company and their dares to keep them busy.

Dash is described as persnickety and snarly -- love him. I imagine him talking a mile a minute. And even though some find him snarly, I find his snarky wit to be adorable. Lily is described as delightful -- like her. She is good-natured and even though Christmas is not what she had planned, she isn't too woe is me. What I like about them both is that they are just utterly realistic portrayals of teenagers. Smart teenagers with fantastic vocabularies -- but real, vulnerable, sometimes logical and others illogical, and completely endearing. They also had depth and stories worth reading. 

As the time to meet approaches, they encounter the concern that the person they are falling for is not the person they really are. As a blogger and a writer, I love how writing is such a free way to communicate. One has the ability to be completely honest. We don't have to look someone in the eye and give a piece of ourselves -- our words become that piece. But it is easier to deceive and portray ourselves as whoever we want to be. Thus, I loved both the honesty in their words and the realistic emotions they had towards each other. 

Overall, I loved this book. It is a fantastic adventure through New York City during the chaos of Christmas time. An adventure through the lives of two people who just so happen to frequent the same bookstore and love J.D. Salinger. As they send each other on crazy dares, we get to follow along. I suggest you wear comfortable shoes -- this is quite the city adventure. One perfect for the day before the day before Christmas. 


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