Title: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Authors: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Published: October 2010 by Knopf Books
My Rating: 4 stars
Tags: YA | Realistic | Romance
Includes: Brief profanity
First Lines: 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.
Lily has never had a boyfriend, thanks to her very overprotective family. And by family, I mean older brother, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins that all live close by. Lily leaves a red Moleskine notebook on a bookshelf in the Strand one day, hoping that just the right guy may find it. And he does. His name is Dash. Soon, Lily and Dash are writing things to each other, two complete strangers, that they've never told anyone else. Over the course of just a week during the Christmas season, Dash and Lily grow close through the notebook and begin to fall for each other. But at the same time, they're nervous about finally meeting in person. What if the boy Lily is writing to is different in person? And what if Dash isn't completely over his ex-girlfriend yet?
I had never read anything by either of these two authors so I started this book not knowing what to expect. Right from the start, I liked the protagonists. Since Rachel Cohn wrote from Lily's perspective and David Levithan wrote from Dash's, the two characters had very unique personalities and their own style of thinking. Lily is such a quirky and cute girl, and even though I had a hard time visualizing her, she was still a pretty memorable character. She was sweet and sheltered, and I liked watching her break out of her cocoon and actually experience life via the red notebook. Dash was equally just as interesting and original, but I wish I could have gotten to know him a bit better. Both of the characters have messy family problems, and I think the two authors worked marvelously together. They weaved together the lives of two lonely teens and made a sweet and beautiful story out of it.
I wasn't exactly hooked right away to the book. I'd definitely say the second half was much better than the first half, though I can't quite put my finger on why. By the final chapters, I was so immersed in the novel that I wouldn't let my eyes linger away from the pages for even a second. (Literally, I walked through my house and up the stairs with the book in my face!). This wasn't your average, sappy, romance book with two characters destined for each other that leaves the reader swooning with jealousy. Instead, it was REAL. Honest to goodness, a realistic novel that captured the little moments of two teens who are in like with each other. No cheesy scenes or romantic conversations right out of a soap opera. The book was funny...like laugh out loud funny. And the awkward exchanges between Lily and Dash in person felt so believable and were just plain cute.
From page 149
The drapery was so thick and the furniture so cloaked that I half expected to find Sherlock Holmes thumb-wrestling with Jane Austen in the corner. It wasn't as dusty or smoky as one expects a parlor to be, but all the wood had the weight of card catalogs and the fabrics seemed soaked in wine. Knee-high sculptures perched in corners and by the fireplace, while jacketless books crowded on shelves, peering down like old professors too tired to speak to one another.
The book is loaded with memorable lines and characters, even the minor ones whom I grew to love! Dash's dialogue was a little hard to follow at times because he's such a word-nerd, but once again, this just added to his flair. The novel was sweet on the surface, but went so much deeper, too. I have about six bookmarks wedged between the pages right now, with quotes that I want to memorize and apply to my life. There were some awesome words of wisdom (in disguise of course) that came out of certain characters' mouths. Things that I had never even thought about before. I really recommend reading this book, falling in love with Dash and Lily, and maybe even learning something new about the world or just yourself.
Cover Thoughts: I really love it! It's colorful, eye-catching, and pretty simple yet at the same time creative. I also like how it portrays the setting of the book: a wintry New York.