Sunday, 5 February 2012

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares - Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

This is one of those books that English bloggers and readers have to deal with, book wise. I first saw the rave for this book last year when it was very BIG on the blogosphere. I read review upon review - all by American bloggers - and fell in love with the sound of this book. However, there are certain books in America that well, stay there. And living in England with all these great books not avaliable is a little annoying.
Considering this, imagine my excitement when I finally have access to a copy. My friend was reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, quite openly in my English class. When I go to sit next to her to talk, I see this book and gush about how much I loved John Green. After our ramble on how much we loved Paper Towns, my friend then said 'I also have this book too, it's very good' and puts out Dash & Lily's Book of Dares.
I'm not quite sure what or how I said it but I think it came out like 'OH MY GOD, I REALLY WANT TO READ THAT BOOK. PLEASE CAN I BORROW IT, PLEASE?!' Looking back, not the politest thing I could have said but I got my point across and she gave it to me, happily. Ah. I love her right now...

Synopsis: '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.'

Whilst browsing through his favourite book store, Dash comes across a red Moleskine notebook, and so begins the book of dares as Dash gets to know the girl behind the notebook. Lily places her red Moleskine notebook, waiting for the right guy to come along and find it and accept her dares. But is Dash the right guy? Will they just continually keep passing clues to places in New York City? And what will happen when they finally meet?  

Review: This book is one of those that is just a little different to anything else I have read. For starters, rarely do you see two authors of one book, like David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. Additionally, there are few books out there that contain dares that bring you, as a reader, to different parts of a major city, such as New York. And mainly, I hardly ever read books where at the end I'm like 'I wish these people were real'. This is such a realistic book, everything seems like it COULD happen and by the end, my friend and I agreed that we wished Dash and Lily were real people because...well, I'd want to know them.

As you can tell, I loved the characters of Lily and Dash - both I found interesting to read about, although for some unknown reason I preferred David Levithan's (Dash) chapters more. The other minor characters didn't just fade into the background after a while or were normal, boring people themselves. No, they were all very unique and different and all had an original spark so it never felt like they were two characters depicted the same way. My personal favourite was Boomer, as I'm sure many people would say. I just COULD NOT STOP LAUGHING. He was absolutely hilarious. Another favourite was Boris -  the dog. There's a scene where he runs off and, without revealing too much, ah, you'll be in stitches, I was laughing so much.

One of my only problems with this was the language, especially for David Levithan's (Dash) chapters. Dash has a lot of knowledge and loves words and books. To put it finely, I had no idea what he was talking about half the time and I'm surprised Lily did understand him. My advice: keep a dictionary with you for his chapters because I guess you might need it. 
Apart from that the language was vivid, especially in the key scenes in New York. I went to New York in October time when they were getting ready for Thanksgiving so I understand the craziness of Macy's and FAO Swartz. I can see the tourist traps in Central Park and Times Square. I can see the attraction of an unknown book store or pub. All of which visited in this book. The places are described incredibly well that even if you hadn't been there, anyone can get a feel for the atmosphere if you were there. I loved that about this book.

The romance could be a little bit more, personally. Conversely, I did feel that feeling where you want to shout at them 'KISS ALREADY!' which Dash and Lily both feel themselves. However, I think if there was this full-on romance, the book wouldn't haven been as good. The point is they meet under these strange and original circumstances where romance has to develop, you don't just feel this straight away. Being the age of Lily and Dash, I totally understood both their viewpoints on love and previous relationships. What they say may seem petty or 'too-grown-up' for them, but being a teenager, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have got it spot on - these are the feelings and thoughts teenagers have while in relationships. 

Overall, this book is wonderful. You get taken into the narrative straight away and keep this engagement with Lily and Dash and actually really get to know them and want them to get what they want. This book is incredibly original - one that cannot be copied. I would recommend this to anyone for the great writing, plot and characters. This is a book that will make you smile. 
Verdict: You'll love it  - but remember a dictionary. 

I give it a 4 out of 5

Pages: 260 
Publisher: Ember - an imprint of Random House
Challenges: None


  1. I'm reallyexcited to read this book. I really wanted to read it before Christmas, but only managed to get hold of a copy in January and I don't think I'll be able to wait until Christmas this year :)

  2. Ah, this is a good book. It'll be worth the wait. It's set at Christmas time so maybe reading it then would be best anyway! :)

  3. I am often read knowledgeable books but after reading you review, I would love to read this book. Specially the character of Lily i am impressed. And yeah looking forward to read these book.

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