22 February 2011

Review of Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Official Website
“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?

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.

Review: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares (which I shall be referring to it as D and L because it gets annoying after while..)  is one of the cutest books I have ever read. I feel like cute is the wrong word, but everything about it was adorable, from the characters to the setting to the animals and the houses and the.... well, you get the picture. I feel it's the wrong word because cute is what you call a baby lamb, or what you call a slobbering baby. D and L isn't just about exchanging a notebook between two teenagers in Manhattan; it's about each of those teenagers growing in their own ways, because of the other person.

Dash and Lily starts with Dash finding a notebook that has clues in it, sending him to different books in the bookstore, which spell out a dare: Are you going to be playing for the pure thrill of unreluctant desire? Dash is hooked by the dare, and also the interesting choice of books, which include The Joy of Gay Sex ( Third Edition) and Fat Hoochie Prom Queen. Little does he know, the girl that signed the book, Lily,  was actually put up to a dare by her brother, Langston.

D and L alternates between Dash's point-of-view and Lily's. Honestly, I really liked both of their speaking patterns. When Dash speaks, it sounds miserable and he always seemed annoyed. Also, he uses soo many SAT words;I felt older just speaking them. He is the kind of guy that you see rolling his eyes on the bus stop because the bus is two seconds late. (Lily gives him the nickname of 'Snarl') You would see him brooding by the bookshelves, searching for the perfect book. He doesn't have a very close family, and he HATES. CHRISTMAS.

Meanwhile, when Lily speaks, it's bubbly and cheerful and she always optimistic. Her family is close knit, and they always have huge celebrations for Christmas, which is partially why she loves it so much. She lives under the careful watch of her parents, and she's okay with that, because she's never lived life differently. She doesn't have many friends and she's never kissed a boy. She walks the neighborhood dogs, because her parents won't allow her to have her own.

At first, both Dash and Lily agree not to meet, because it would kill the mysteriousness and allure of the red moleskin notebook. But when Lily accidental doesn't give the notebook over, and instead gives him a boot, Dash tracks her down, and has a lovely evening with her aunt. And when they do finally meet, well, the only way to describe it is a hot mess.

From the notebook, both characters change. Lily breaks out of the carefully crafted shell made by her parents. With a dare from Dash, she sneaks out of the house and goes to a nightclub. Dash changes with the help of his ex-girlfriend, Sofia. Spoken beautifully, Sofia basically lets Dash in on a little secret : that people will never live up to your expectations. They cannot be the person you have conjured in your mind.

And the writing? I've never read anything by Rachel Cohn nor David Levithan, but after Dash and Lily, I'll definitely add some books to my list. The words flowed off the pages and I felt like I was really in the minds of Dash and Lily. Cohn painted a perfect Lily, and I couldn't imagine Dash anyway but as Levithan created him.

Overall, the notebook lets both Dash and Lily poor out their problems and fears to a complete stranger. Someone who doesn't know them personally, and cannot judge them. And after this book, I'm such girls all over the world will be leaving red moleskin notebooks in bookstores, hoping that their own angry prince charming will come along.

"I’m serious!” he said. “You’d better have a good explanation.”
Well, I’ve been corresponding with a complete stranger in a notebook, telling him my innermost feelings and thoughts and then blindly going to mystery places where he dares me to go…
No, that wouldn’t go over so well."
-Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
pg 133

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