Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
Author: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Fiction, romance
Release Date: October 26, 2010
How Received: Random House
Summary: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?
Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.
From page 1, I was absolutely drawn in by this book. It is not only cute and light-hearted, but it's also quirky and humorous. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I had to put this book down because I was laughing so hard! Like all books written by David and Rachel, this book has excessive swearing – not so much as Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, of course, but enough to warn those of you who screen their books.
Dash’s character was so enlightening to read – he’s hilarious and cynical half of the time, but he’s still very loyal and a well-rounded guy. I absolutely fell in love with him, and found myself looking forward to his passages more than Lily’s. David really fleshed out Dash’s character without over-rambling about him. There aren’t many teenage boys like Dash out there, but I know they exist, and reading about Dash makes me really want to meet and/or befriend one!
Lily, on the other hand, is Dash’s polar opposite: she’s very innocent and naïve, and she finds joy in things Dash scoffs at. While I appreciate Rachel experimenting with a different type of character personality, she incorporated too much of her writing in the character. That probably makes no sense. Having read Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, I noticed that David had the shorter passages while Rachel had much, much longer passages that would involve a lot of internal monologues and tons of meaningless ponderings. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares was no exception to this. I felt like I was reading about Norah, with a new name and a new personality slapped on. Rachel’s portrayal of Lily was too reminiscent of her previous writing; I would have liked to see her style differ from these two characters.
Aside from that, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares was a very quick, cute read. The pacing was great (well, aside from Lily’s narratives...) and a lot happened in such a little amount of time. I loved how Dash and Lily equally challenged each other to increasingly embarrassing dares, and how they clicked with words and a few common interests rather than physical attraction. The gradual romance (and let me tell you, it is very gradual!) was so cute to read about. I can’t even begin to tell you how unique the plot is – how cool is the idea of having a red notebook filled with dares inside of it? I’m almost tempted to try it out, myself!
Cover Musings: I freaking adore this cover! It’s just really... I have no words. I just love it. The snowflakes are falling down in little hearts, how cute is that?!
Imagine this: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. (pg. 1)
I took French Pianism with me (we’d grown close; I couldn’t leave her) and went to the information desk, where the guy sitting there looked like someone had slipped a few lithium into his Coke Zero.“I’m looking for Fat Hoochie Prom Queen,” I declared.He did not respond.“It’s a book,” I said. “Not a person.” (pg. 7)
“Dash?”I turned to find Priya, this girl from my school, somewhere between a friend and acquaintance—a frequaintance, as it were. She had been friends with my ex-girlfriend, Sofia, who was now in Spain. (Not because of me).“Hi, Priya,” I said.She looked at the books I was holding—a red Moleskine, French Pianism, Fat Hoochie Prom Queen, and, open to a rather graphic drawing of two men doing something I had heretofore not known to be possible, The Joy of Gay Sex (3rd edition). (pg. 10)
Macy’s.Two days before Christmas Eve.She might as well have gift-wrapped my face and pumped the carbon dioxide in. Or hung me on a noose of credit card receipts. A department store two days before Christmas Eve is like a city in a state of siege—wild-eyed consumers battling in the aisles over who gets the last seat horse snow globe to give to their respective Great-aunt Marys.I couldn’t.I wouldn’t.I had to. (pg. 27-28)
I reached right under Santa’s coat. To my horror, I found he wasn’t wearing anything underneath. It was hot, sweaty, fleshy, hairy... and his belly was this massive obstacle, blocking me from the envelope. I had to lean over to angle my arm in order to reach it, the whole time having Santa laugh, “Oh ho ho, ho ho oh ho!” in my ear. I heard the elf scream, “What the hell!” and various parents start to shriek. Yes, I was feeling up Santa. (pg. 36)
“He eats yogurt?” Mark asked. “What kind of teenage boy is he?”“Lactose tolerant!” Boomer said. “Dash loves yogurt, and anything with cream in it, and he especially likes Spanish cheeses.”Mark turned to me consolingly. “Lily. Sweetie. You realize this Dash may not be straight?” (pg. 205)
“Lily?”I looked up from my plastic bag filled with giant poo.Of course.It was Dash.Who else would find me at just this moment? First he found me drunk, now he found me cleaning up poo from a barking pony who was about to go into attack mode. (pg. 210)
Overall Thoughts/Final Comments: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares was such a wonderful and cute novel. It’s set around Christmastime, so I’m probably going to re-read this closer to Christmas! It’s that good. I loved the romance between these two characters and I loved reading about their quirks and fears. I think I might have loved D&L more than N&N because the character development was such a step up from their previous novels. I felt so close to Dash and Lily, and I felt like I knew them personally. That’s the mark of a good book to me.
Just a sidenote: I have never been sidetracked into re-reading a novel while pulling out my favorite quotes until I pulled out the quotes for this book. I find myself wanting to re-read it right now!