Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Book Recommendation: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Readers who enjoy Rachel Cohn and David Levithan will surely enjoy this holiday story: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares.

Scrooge-like Dash has gotten out of Christmas by telling his mother he’s at his father’s house, and telling his father he’s spending Christmas at his mother’s. Perusing the shelves of used books at his favorite bookstore, the Strand, he finds a red Moleskine notebook, with “DO YOU DARE?” on the cover, and with a note on the front page:

“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.”

Intrigued, Dash turns the page.

Christmas-loving Lily has been abandoned this season—by her parents, on a never-taken honeymoon in Fiji; by her grandfather, heading to Florida to propose to his girlfriend; and by her brother, Langston, looking to spend his every waking hour with his new boyfriend, instead of babysitting her. The clues in the book were Langston’s idea for how Lily could meet a guy; Lily doesn’t expect anyone to pick it up, or, as requested, answer in kind. What begins is a series of riddles and challenges that takes Dash and Lily back and forth across New York City, as they reveal more of themselves to each other through the notebook. The two can’t help but start falling for each other, but is it for the person on the page, or the ideal in their heads? Will they act on the ultimate dare: to meet in person? And if so, will they connect, or will it turn out to be the ultimate disaster?

I loved the wit and banter Dash and Lily have between each other, and with their family and friends, even if it doesn’t sound like a lot of the teens you might know. I felt the characters were shown to be complex and layered, with clear foibles as well as admirable strengths. Despite Dash being nicknamed “Snarly” by those he comes across, he’s never unlikeable. Lily’s sweet, but not annoying.

And some of the scenes made me laugh out loud. I wouldn’t be surprised if this book starts a trend of red notebooks on shelves in bookstores across the country.

-Debra B.

Readers who enjoyed this story might enjoy other books co-written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan including: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List.

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