Release Date: Oct. 26, 2010
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Buy: Fountain Bookstore / Amazon
“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 Times 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?
Occasionally, a book will fall into your lap at just the right moment. It doesn’t matter that it’s not the newest release, or that you’ve had it on your TBR list for months, or even that you’ve heard all the good things other trusted people have said about it. The bookappears in a flash of amazingness precisely when you need to read it. That’s exactly how I feel about Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, the third co-writing partnership of Rachel Cohn & David Levithan.
I had previously read both Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Naomi & Eli’s No-Kiss List a couple of years ago, back at the beginnings of my Reading Renaissance (aka when I started reading again voraciously). I adored Nick & Norah, but Naomi & Eli didn’t click for me. I think that’s why I sat on Dash & Lily for so long. It was a fifty-fifty chance of me liking it, and I didn’t like those odds. Amazingly, I completely loved Dash & Lily even more than I thought possible, and I blame/thank Lily for that.
It has been a ridiculously long time since I have identified with a character as much as I do with Lily. She acknowledges that she is aware of his weirdness and that she isn’t the most normal of teenagers. However, she also keeps being exactly who she is, and that’s why she is the freakin’ coolest. In fact, every time she isn’t being true to herself, things never work out for the best. Quirky, awkward, smart, and increasingly proud of it? This is a girl after my own heart. I could read a whole series of Lily.
Dash took a bit longer to win me over. While Levithan (of course!) does an amazing job of establishing Dash’s voice from the very beginning, I have to agree with Lily’s Great Aunt Ida/Mrs. Basil E.’s assessment: “His persnicketiness is not nearly as delightful as he’d have one believe, but he has his own charm nonetheless.”The more he allowed the reader behind his veil of snarliness, the more endearing he became. And Dash and Lily together?These two were meant to find each other. Every scene they share was magical, even the scenes where it was only one person and one red Moleskine notebook with the other person’s words.
Speaking of the infamous red Moleskine, I thought the scavenger hunt just this side of far-fetched. Really, if this story took place anywhere but New York, I wouldn’t have believed it so quickly. Instead, the zaniness of it- scouring The Strand, feeling up Santa, late night dancing to the sounds of a rockin’ klezmer band- kept a grin plastered across my face. Andlet’s not forget the incredible secondary cast of characters, from the aforementioned Mrs. Basil E. and the rest of Lily’s exceedingly large and bizarre family to Dash’s BFF Boomer (whether he wants him or not) and his group of loyal misfits. These people are more outrageous than the residents of Stars Hollow on Town Meeting Night.
I didn’t know I needed this book, but apparently… I really needed this book. Cohn & Levithan will not receive a doubt from me again. I know Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares will be one of my yearly holiday books, though it’s not just a holiday-themed story. It’s a tale of taking risks, letting your guard down, and accepting people for who they are. Obviously, if you couldn’t already tell, I’m mad about Dash & Lily.