Sunday, 16 December 2012

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

Title: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
Authors: Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
Publisher: Mira Ink
Released: October 26th 2010
Pages: 274 (Kindle)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US

“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 bestselling 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?

I've wanted to read Dash and Lily's Book of Dares since forever. How long is that, I hear you ask? Well, ever since I fell head-over-heels for Levithan's writing, which was around about the time when I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson for the first time, a novel he wrote alongside John Green. Ever since then, I've always been on the look out for pieces of his work - only recently I was able to stumble upon it on Netgalley, and...well, I guess I couldn't resist.

The basic concept of this novel is that a girl, Lily (written by Cohn), left a red notebook in a bookstore, waiting for someone to pick it up - and that guy just happened to be Dash (written by Levithan). Inside are a set of instructions left for Dash to follow, and as they get into the flow of things, the notebook passes back and forth between them but without them meeting once.

Essentially, it is a love story. Now although I do like to see romances in novels, I don't like books that only concentrate on just that aspect of things - I want there to be a bigger issue, an underlying problem that needs to be solved with the help of the romantic interest. And don't get me wrong, there were other problems - family issues, bullying - but it was mostly a romance, those were just tossed in to give a bit more depth to the characters. However, I will admit that I did enjoy it - it was light, cute, and enjoyable, and I did find myself yelling out "JUST BE TOGETHER ALREADY!". Yeah, it's safe to say this is one of the first romances I've actually become engrossed in.

I loved the characters, too. I'd never consider myself to be a 'hipster', as Dash is accused of, but I suppose some of my habits are quite similar to his, so I appreciated the quirkiness of his character. I've read certain reviews where the quirky natures of both the characters is complained about, but for me, I felt it just helped me to relate to the characters, and at the end of the novel, they did feel more like friends to me than just pieces of an author's imagination. Admittedly I did find Lily quite annoying and whiny, and Cohn didn't portrayed her in the way I was expecting - I thought she'd be quite smart, sarcastic, easy to like; instead she was smart, innocent, and had a habit for squeaking like a guinea pig. It did begin to wear a bit thin, which was a shame. However, I think Levithan's portrayal of Dash was perfect, and did in some ways save the book - when Lily got too much, up popped a chapter from Dash. What I must take my hat off towards the authors for is how both the characters complimented each other perfectly. Writing a novel is difficult on its own - writing a novel and having to sync the character's stories together with someone else is even harder. I really think it is a talent that is undermined.

I loved the writing style - with both authors it was easy and enjoyable to read, and the only way I can best describe it is to compare it to flowing down a river; it was that smooth. It's rare to find a book that you feel completely comfortable with - and although I felt that some of Lily's smarts were rather forced upon the reader, I did enjoy thoroughly enjoy it.

Overall, this book was everything I had hoped it would be. Despite my not being overly fond of romances, I did enjoy it a heck of a lot - the characters were fantastically characterized, the dares were fun and highly anticipated, and the ending was great. If you're stuck on what to read over the upcoming Christmas holidays, then I'd definitely recommend this - you won't regret it!
Rating: 4/5


  1. Hi Nina! I encountered this book many times. I have an e-book version but I unfortunately lost it. I'm beginning to love both John Green and David Levithan. When I encountered your post, I think this book will have to be in my list of holiday reads.

    Thank you for following my blog. Have a great day ahead!

    1. Hello! Oh, that's a shame - maybe it's still available on Netgalley? It is definitely worth a read, it was light, funny, and just enjoyable. A great read for Christmas.