Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Finished: December 25, 2011

Pages: 260

Author: Find David Levithan and Rachel Cohn on Goodreads.

Publisher: Ember (Random House)

Synopsis: 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?
Quote: “I was horribly bookish, to the point of coming right out and saying it, which I knew was not socially acceptable. I particularly loved the adjective bookish, which I found other people used about as often as ramrod or chum or teetotaler.” 

Thoughts: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares was a perfect Holiday read. I wanted something light and fun and this book was not only that but much more. I wasn’t expecting to like the characters so much, or for them to be witty, or for the story to be so honest and smart. So I guess you would say this book surprised me.

I found that I could not put it down because I was so eager to see where the story went; eager to keep reading more of Dash & Lily’s inner thoughts. I related to both characters in different ways. I related to Dash’s self-proclaimed “bookish” personality and love of seclusion. I related to Lily’s awkwardness and unending idealism. In the end, I cared for them both equally. Even though Dash is a bit pretentious, and Lily a little naive, I actually like that I didn’t end up playing favorites. Perhaps because sometimes I feel a little pretentious and naive myself when I’m inside my own head. I think it says a lot for the writing talents of both authors that both characters were so endearing despite their flaws. Lily was written by Rachel Cohn and Dash was written by David Levithan. I read that they wrote this by emailing their contributions back and forth, just as Dash & Lily did with their notebook, which I think is very cool.

I think one thing that makes this book special is the parts of the notebook itself. Not only are we treated to funny dialogue, but we also get to see characters putting thoughts to paper, which really adds something special to the story. It allows the characters to ramble and to go off track - and I really like that. Since I communicate best by writing, that really appealed to me, and a lot of the writing in the notebook by both characters really resonated with me. Particularly the feeling of being your best self in writing and worrying that it won’t translate on the outside the way you want it to. I also loved all of the Franny & Zooey mentions, since it is one of my favorite books.

This book made me laugh out loud over and over again. I don’t find many books like that and it was just what I needed to relax during the crazy two day holiday. The humor does tend a bit toward “romantic comedy” sometimes (the baby catching scene comes to mind) and the writing does tend to get ahead of itself in some parts, almost as if it’s trying too hard to be what it so effortlessly already is for much of the story. These moments were rare though and that is my only complaint.

Recommendation: Anyone who needs cheering up or a little bit of laughter.


Five out of Five Coffees

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares is on sale now in paperback. You can purchase it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository, and other retailers.


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