December 12, 2012 by Heidi
Author: Rachel Cohn [Website|Twitter|Facebook] and David Levithan [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: Stand alone novel.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Holiday
Published: October 26th, 2010 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover; 272 pages.
Source: Borrowed from my local library.
Disclaimer: I read this book last holiday season, and so wrote this review almost a year ago…ergo, if it’s not up to my usual awesomeness, that is why.
Dash is browsing the shelves at New York City’s most famous bookstore, The Strand, when he spots a moleskin notebook out of place. He can’t resist opening it, and therein finds a dare from a teenaged girl. Dash decides to take it, and to one up his mysterious compatriot by daring her back. Thus begins the holiday-fueled back and forth between Dash and Lily, who create a series of dares for one another through the book to keep themselves busy on a lonely Christmas break, and possibly find love.
Like most ardent readers, I have a fairly strict policy about reading a book before watching the movie based off said book. But I’ve been busy the last few years, really busy. So when I saw Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist on T.V. I made an exception and watched it. I thought, Kat Dennings and Michael Cera in a cute YA film about music? How could this not be worth an hour and a half of my time? Well that was a mistake dear friends, because it wasn’t. Unfortunately, after seeing a movie I have a very difficult time reading the book, so I decided instead of attempting to read Nick and Norah, I’d read Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares. The concept is totally cute, sweet, and fun and I’ve been in the mood for some light contemporary YA. Plus–it’s the perfect holiday book!
Honestly the best part of this book for me was not necessarily what was written, but rather how it was written. I love the idea that Levithan and Cohn didn’t necessarily know what was coming next, and they passed the story back and forth between them, it forming as they went. That said, this may also have been the book’s weakness. Certain aspects of the plot seemed pretty forced and contrived, and it comes across as a bit too much. I also didn’t like Lily or Dash all that much to be honest, nor did I think they were really great together. They each have this fear that the person they are getting to know through the dares in their shared notebook isn’t an accurate reflection of who they really are. I know that this fear is supposed to dissipate as they get to know one another, but honestly, it didn’t for me. I liked the notebook versions of both Dash and Lily better than the actual characters.
Can we address the name, “Dash”? When I think Dash, I think “dog” or maybe “The Incredibles” or quite possibly “Mad Men/prep school”. I do not think hot, down to earth, regular fun guy who could win my heart. But to each their own. Maybe his father was a posh Brit with a title and lands who fell for some nobody hippy artist chick from NYC and knocked her up before she left him to his tea and crumpets…oh wait, that’s the plot of What a Girl Wants. Mostly I think this pair of authors really enjoy alliteration. Lily is true to her nickname, “Shrilly”. She’s fairly juvenile in her emotions, and everyone babies her to avoid her reactions. She does have this fantastic big family, they all look out for each other, and most of them get enlisted at some point during the dares.
In the end, I felt that Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares was a light, fun, holiday read, but it was not my favorite.
Likelihood that I’ll be back for more: Eh, after watching Nick and Norah and reading Dash and Lily, I’ll be honest. I don’t see myself bothering with Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List.
Recommended for: People who enjoy Christmas in the city (I personally hate the crowds!) and the back and forth style.
Real life repercussions of reading this book: Finally! People who agree with me that “an historic” is completely annoying and incorrect and that everyone should say “a historic”.