Saturday, January 01, 2011

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (YA)

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. Rachel Cohn & David Levithan. 2010. [October 2010] Random House. 272 pages.

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.

Dash and Lily are strangers when the novel begins, but they won't be strangers for long. For Dash--snarls and all--is up to the challenge Lily has presented, for the red notebook is hers. Her brother, Langston, wants her to find love, or maybe he just wants to keep Lily distracted this Christmas vacation, so he can have more alone time with his boyfriend. Their parents are out of town. Dash's parents are out of town as well. His mom with her new boyfriend; his dad with his new girlfriend. Dash and Lily take turns with the notebook, challenging each other to do things. The notebook binds them together. They are getting to know one another through their words. (It's fortunate Lily has a LARGE family.) But should these two meet up in real life?

Alternating chapters--it's narrated by both Dash and Lily--reveal this whirlwind friendship set in New York City during Christmas vacation. Dash hates Christmas. Lily loves Christmas. But though these two have their differences--their different outlooks and perspectives--they have plenty in common. This red notebook is a fun distraction, but it is also good at revealing the character's vulnerabilities. Lily learns more about herself through this experience as does Dash. They learn that writing can be very enlightening, and that words have power.

This book is the third collaboration between Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. And it is by far my favorite of the three. (I did not care for Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist or Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List.) I thought it was well written. There were elements of this one that I just loved. A few scenes that had me laughing out loud in the middle of the night. But as much as I enjoyed it--I didn't love it. I liked it. I really liked it.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Anonymous said...

Becky, can I make a recommendation for your reading list this new year? My new novel (yay!) Looks Like Love! :)

Marg said...

I really liked this one too, and will be reading more from these authors. I did think that the book was stronger when they were separate. Once they were actually physically together it seemed to lose a little bit of strength.