Monday, December 20, 2010

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

Title: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Authors: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Publication: December 2010 (AUS)
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Source: For review, thanks A&U!
Age: 14+
Pages: 260 
My Rating:


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 shelf in her favourite bookshop, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept them. But is Dash the right guy? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

From the authors of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist comes a warm and funny story that will have you perusing bookshop shelves, looking for a red notebook of your own.

My thoughts: 

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares is a warm story between two souls who meet with a chance encounter--the girl, Lily, leaves behind a red notebook in one of the shelves of Strand, which so happens to be Dash's, or "Snarl" as he is frequently described as, favourite bookstore. The characters are quirky, with family being a very important aspect of the novel, which goes hand in hand with the Christmas arc that the novel revolves around.

I have not yet read any of their previous novels, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist included, and therefore I had nothing to compare this to. I loved the concept of a notebook being passed back and forth; many of the "dares" expelled a chuckle or smile from me, especially in the beginning. The humour that is present in this novel was one of the book's more redeeming factors, for me.

As previously mentioned, the characters were great. I loved that Lily was so sheltered and unsure about her life, that she had an average appearance and awkward personality. That she wished to be a little more daring, to live life a little more dangerously. With tragic and hilarious results. Dash, short for Dashiell, was a bit, well, annoying. I didn't dislike or hate him. At times my opinion of him would fluctuate between "he's different than the others" and "man, he's such a jerk!". But even so, I love the relationship that they share, and their correspondence that is mainly done through the notebook. I liked Dash's intelligible mystique, how he prefers tea above alcohol, loves yoghurt, yearns for the OED (Oxford English Dictionary), and is not gay.

Speaking of gay, there are gays in this novel, which I very much so appreciated. Just because gay people are really underrepresented in YA novels. And also due to the fact that David Levithan is like the writer of GBLT YA lit right now. So while there is a main plot between a potential budding relationship between a boy and girl, there are many characters that revolve around them, so the novel isn't just about the two.

The novel is set in dual perspectives, and is also sectioned off in chapters (preview). The novel is set in New York, from December 21st to January 1st. I loved the writing style. Rachel Cohn wrote Lily's chapters, and David Levithan wrote Dash's chapters, so there was a coersion between the simple-esqe voice of Lily and her chapters, and Dash's more sophisticated ones.

All in all, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares is one of the first Christmas books I've had the pleasure to read, and it is one I would recommend for the holiday season. It is one that I'd recommend: Dash and Lily celebrate Christmas in different ways, but this year, they share those with a solemn bond, the notebook. I actually read the last 100 pages in bed, from 9 am to 12 pm, with puppy in tow and cold drink in hand. (since it's summer over here)


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I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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