Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
My rating: 5 big fat santa stars
Where has this book been all my life? Why did no one tell me how good it was? I loved this book sooo much. I think it could be my all time favorite Christmas read
It’s very, very cute and innocent and extremely funny. I don’t think I’ve ever highlighted so many sentences in a story before or had such a difficult time trying not to laugh when reading on the train (scene when Dash goes to visit Santa, that’s all I’m saying). If you’re looking for the perfect book to get you in the festive spirit or even just a book to make you smile I’d definitely recommend Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares.
What’s it about?
You’re in your favorite bookstore, scanning the shelves. You get to the section where a favorite author’s books reside, and there, nestled in comfortably between the incredibly familiar spines, sits a red notebook.
What do you do?
The choice I think, is obvious:
You take down the red notebook and open it.
And then you do whatever it tells you to do
Umm, yeah I probably wouldn’t do whatever a random notebook said but then “woman finds notebook and leaves it” doesn’t make for a hilariously brilliant story. Thankfully though I am not Dash, who when he finds the infamous red notebook decides to take on the challenge.
The notebook has in fact been left by sixteen year old Lily at the urging of her brother Langston who is loved up and hoping his sister will meet someone too (and leave him in peace). Dash and Lily begin passing the notebook back and forth, daring each other to complete tasks across the city of New York but never meeting face to face. They also begin to write to each other, sharing thoughts, memories and feelings and as they each learn more about the other they begin to wonder if it’s possible they could be falling in love.
This is such a sweet story, it’s so romantic and cute and Christmassy and at times absolutely hilarious. I just loved the notion that two strangers could connect through the notes they leave each other. I loved the imagination and thought that went into the tasks they set for each other and, while it frustrated the hell out of me, the anticipation of their final meeting had me completely hooked. They seem perfect for each other but can reality ever live up to the fantasy.
While Dash and Lily have some things in common they are very different as characters. Dash is snarly (although he would say persnickety), grumpy and hates the holidays while Lily is full of sunshine, happiness and festive joy. Lily seems to be related to almost everyone in New York whereas Dash seems very much on his own. This definitely makes for some interesting dares as Lily tries to prove how fantastic Christmas is and Dash tries to show Lily how bad it can be. I honestly couldn’t pick a favorite between the two characters even though I’m probably more of a Dash.
The supporting characters were also fantastic. I loved Lily’s aunt, Mrs Basil E., (the scene where she questions Dash is one of my favorites) but Dash’s friend Boomer is definitely the highlight. I really want to live on the planet he seems to spend his time on.
What I also loved were the literary references which are sprinkled throughout the story. It begins in a bookshop and books are a bit theme throughout the story. Dash in particular loves books and words, his dream is to own the complete O.E.D, and this is reflected in the writing and dialogue. I know some reviewers have said they found it a bit pretentious but not me. I absolutely adored it and I think it’s for this reason that I may have slightly preferred Dash’s chapters to Lily’s.
I was a little bit worried that the meeting between Dash and Lily couldn’t possibly live up to expectations but it turned out completely differently from what I had imagined and I think it was very nicely done.
In case you still can’t tell, overall I absolutely loved this book. Just writing this review, I feel the need to go off and re read it.