Saturday, November 17, 2012

Review: 'Dash and Lily's Book Of Dares' by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares

Genre: Teenage Fiction, Contemporary
Release Date: October 2010
Publisher: Ember, Random House
Bought it online.

"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 "New York Times" 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?

I wasn't a fan of 'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist'. I thought that the set-up was cool (too individuals searching for a live gig, chapters switching between male and female perspectives and a cool title. Heck, I'm a bit of a music nerd sometimes, so I wanted to see what songs they picked.), but thought that the characters were perhaps a little too quirky for me. A girl who gets excited about a boy cursing into a microphone? A same-sex kissing lesson? The only things I really liked about 'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist' were the movie adaptation and the short time in which I was able to read the book (approximately three hours), so you can see why I may not have picked up a copy of 'Dash and Lily's Book Of Dares' the first time I saw it. I had effectively been turned off reading anything with David Levithan's name written on it since (not that I had ever read anything else by him). But then, I kept seeing it all over the blogosphere and booktube (youtube). People were giving it good reviews? I was curious to try. Maybe the other book was a dud? Maybe I was wrong in judging this book by it's authors? I just had to find out...
I thought this book was really cute. Again, I liked the set-up, it was similar to 'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist', only I felt these characters were cooler; more relatable. Dash is the ultimate word-nerd. He's snarly, he's knowledgeable and he's critical, but he'll be there if you need him. Lily is a loving, somewhat child-like and a bit of a loner. I felt that I was like Lily in regards to her weird social interactions, outrageous outfits and love of stuffed animals. But that Dashiell's knowledge of words, his need to analyse and his judgy-ness was also relatable. I think everyone may have a bit of Lily and Dash in them. And, that their love for certain things - words, a particular book (no, not the same thing as words), certain foods, And, particular places (where books reside) - drew them together. The overall bookishness of this book really drew me in.

I also really liked the minor characters. The minor characters and the big, tall, not-disappointing New-York really gave the book a happy-dreamy vibe. I think this was one of the big differences between the story of Dash & Lily versus the story of Nick & Norah. There was a lot less negativity in this story. That and all the humour. It was a seriously funny book.

Christmas spirit is also a big player in this story. Dash doesn't like Christmas all that much, but Lily does, and I think maybe that the roles are reversed towards the end. I think this book would be a great Christmas gift, whether the person is a lover or hater of the season.

Another big theme in the novel would have to be fantasy vs reality. Because, the characters only know each other via the notebook and hadn't met personally (to begin with) they start to form an idea of what that person might be like in their head before they actually know what the person is like. So, there are a few expectations of what that person should be. I think this happens in real life even when people do meet in person, because they don't really get to know people before they have made their mind up about them.

Overall, I gave this book 5/5 stars and a favourite. I know, I know, two favourites in one week! But, it really was that good. I think this book was a nice cosy read and a good laugh. If you've had a bad day (or week, or month or year), Or you just feel like some comedy, you'll really enjoy this. My faith in David Levithan and Rachel Cohn is restored!

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1 comment:

Wall-to-wall books said...

I always wanted to read this book, but never did.
I did read Nick and Nora and thought it was "OK" but yeah nothing great. I should give this a try.