Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Target Audience: Young Adult
Why I picked it up: I’ve been wanting to read about this book for a long time but when I read on Jana’s blog that the book was set in New York and during Christmastime… it moved to the top of my must-read list!
Summary: Dash finds a red moleskin notebook on a shelf at The Strand and embarks on a scavenger hunt pinpointed by a series of challenges with its owner, Lily.
There’s nothing I love more than New York City and Christmas time. (Except maybe Walt Disney World.) Add in a bookstore and moleskin notebooks and I am pretty much in my element. Dash & Lily reminds me of a younger, less intense version of one of my favorite movies, Serendipity. Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack meet days before Christmas in a New York department store. Unfortunately they are both in other relationships and decide to leave their next meeting to chance.
While Dash & Lily’s premise is entirely different it is the back and forth, the sense of adventure, and mystery that is so familiar to me. The book is not overly romantic, but more about discovery. It is more goofy and over-the-top than some epic love story. But its innocence is part of its charm.
Sometimes it’s hard to pick up a book that has garnered such high praise from other readers; you don’t want to be disappointed. But I’m happy to say I grew pretty addicted to Dash and Lily’s story. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised that each of the characters were more developed than I had expected. I loved the details of their family backstories and all the supporting characters who contributed to the story.
Still, the end just snuck up on me and many elements that contributed to the character development were forgotten. I don’t want to reveal any spoilers but part of me wondered if the book would have felt more complete if the beginning was shorter.
As the second book I’ve read where two authors alternate chapters (first was Will Grayson, Will Grayson), Rachel Cohn and David Levithan did a great job. I actually had trouble believing it was actually written by two different authors. I also suspect one of them is a huge Muppet fan and that’s pretty awesome in my book.
This also may have been the first book I’ve read in awhile where I felt more connected to the male lead character. Dash is independent and more grounded while Lily’s enthusiasm and the fact she is so sheltered makes her feel very young to me. Yet I am totally on the same page with her love of baking, Christmas lights, and carols (although I guarantee she is a better singer than I). Not to be a negative Nelly, but I did wonder (quite a bit) about how compatible these two would be.
See? This is why I need to start a campaign for a sequel because I really want to know what happens next!
If you want a book that is just plain fun, gives you an incredible tour of New York, and teaches you a slew of vocabulary words, what are you waiting for? It’s just about perfect for this time of year.