3. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares- Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

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Title: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

Author: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Rating: ★★★

On the Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Christmas

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 (Goodreads 2013)

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares is the second book I have read, which has been co-authored by these two writers, Cohn and Levithan. Their other co-authored work which I’ve read is Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist; a book which didn’t leave much of an impresion on me. As a result of that experience however, I went into this book with relatively low hopes. Expecting an enjoyable, fluffy christmas read, but nothing too serious. And that is exactlly what I got. Now I’m not saying that this is a bad thing, sometimes all you need or want from books is a light-hearted “fun” read. In this instance, Dash and Lily provided just that.

 Cohn and Levithan, wrote the chapters seperately without discussing the ideas, much like the notebook passsed between the two protagonists, with Cohn writing Lily’s perspective and Levithan writing Dash. I’ve not read any of Rachel Cohn’s previous works, but I did read (and loved) Levithan’s Love is the Higher Law– A book which will surely get it’s own review on this blog in time to come, but for now, let us focus on the Book of Dares.

 As characters, I certainly found flaws within Dash and Lily. Granted they are teenagers which seems to be universal code for “hey let’s make them selfish or impatient or altogether bratty”. But by flaws here, I meant more in the author’s writing. Dash, for example, is completely unlike any teenager I’ve ever met. And I don’t really mean that in a flattering way. He was irritating and condescending and to be honest, had the vocabulary of someone three times his age- I understand there are people in the world who, from a young age, have a literal love of the english language, or just words in general, and like using big words in sentences to sound impressive, but with Dash, it just came across as making him a, for lack of a better word, a prat.

 Lily, on the other hand, seemed annoyingly childish. I don’t know whether it was her being childish or rather her family treating her like a child in every way. She was meant to be 16 years old, but her family talked to her and treated her like she was five. I half expected her brother to refuse to send her out into the big bad world of New York City only if she was wrapped up in bubble wrap. She didn’t want to be treated like a child, but most of the time, when she tried to stand up for herself, I could imagine her stamping her foot like a child and pouting when she didn’t get her way- she didn’t really help herself when it came to this, at all. You will find that in life you will only get treated like an adult if you actually first behave and conduct yourself like an “adult” (whatever that means), and Lily seems to have missed this concept. I’m not saying every person needs to be a super serious business adult who doesn’t know how to have fun- but dressing and acting like a child throwing a tantrum certainly isn’t going to help.

 Despite the previous character analysis seeming quite negative. I did enjoy this book, honestly. It was quirky and cute and different from some of the stuff I have read previously. I really enjoyed following the dares and seeing them play out, and realising how the clues and locations all locked together. And hey, what reader doesn’t love the idea of finding a notebook in a book store, daring you to do something different?

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