Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Review: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares


“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.


I’ve been meaning to read this book for years now ever since  I found out it’s set over the Christmas and New Year period. I finally got around to it this year and I have to say that although I enjoyed it, it wasn’t the whimsical story I had hoped it was going to be.
                The idea of falling in love through letters shared in a notebook left at a book store during Christmas is completely brilliant. I loved the inception of the notebook and how it wasn’t even Lily who started it but her brother trying to get her out of the way during the holiday season. The dual perspective of the narrative was great because we got an insight into the mindset of both characters and it was fun to see how they would interpret each other’s messages.
                What really let the story down for me were the characters themselves. Neither Dash nor Lily really grabbed me and to be honest, I didn’t feel any connection with them. I’m not sure if I just expect young adults to act a certain way but I just couldn’t get on board with the notion that a teenage boy would ever refer to himself as “persnickety.” I’m sure the authors were just trying to illustrate how intelligent and sensitive Dash was but I found him to be a little condescending and quite frankly a bit boring. I love books too but there was no need for his disinterest in just about everything to prove that he preferred his own company to that of others.
                I started off liking Lily well enough until the incident that caused her and Dash to first meet in real life and then it dawned on me that she was essentially a caricature of what a sheltered, spoiled child really is. Everyone around her protects and loves her and she’s never faced any real adversity in her life. The day after the incident she’s sorry but doesn’t take any action to make amends and she certainly doesn’t face any consequences.
                In fact, everything about this story felt easy. Even Dash’s encounters with his ex-girlfriend barely caused any friction. The characters decipher their respective clues so quickly and all the little ripples in their relationship were barely obstacles to overcome. Things were resolved rather conveniently with said characters relying on the good graces of their friends or relatives who just so happened to be celebrities or employees at all the right places.
                I didn’t go into this book with many expectations and if I just try and take it at face value it’s a good, light read. It didn’t blow me away but I didn’t hate it at the same time and if nothing else it’s put me in a Christmassy mood.




  1. Oh no! This one has been on my shelf for a long time too. I'm so sad to hear you didn't like it. We share a lot of the same opinions so this does not bode well for this story. Sigh!

  2. Well, I loved it! I thought it delightful and so did the students at my school, the girls anyway(not really a book for boys, so I didn't offer it). In fact, it was very much a word-of-mouth book - and then they would ask for more David Levithan and I had to explain that his other books are very different in style(he writes with other people). I guess sometimes we have to remember that certain books were not written for us. And yes, I've known boys who would say, "Persnickety". You'd be surprised at the variety of kids there are. ;-)

  3. I've never read this book, but stories that don't challenge their own characters are really boring--no question about it. The characters will seem shallow and the plot thin if everything is too easy for them. I think we love the idea of ease in our real lives, but that isn't the way an entertaining read should go.


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