I had read Dash and Lily's Book of Dares years ago and really enjoyed it so I was excited for this sequelReview originally posted over on JustALilLost
I had read Dash and Lily's Book of Dares years ago and really enjoyed it so I was excited for this sequel. Unfortunately, for me, this whole story fell flat. It reads very young, especially Lily's POV, and I actually would have thought it was geared for a younger audience except for the use of swear words and naively-worded implications of sex & drugs. The story and situations felt extremely contrived, and over-the-top cheesy. For example, Lily swears using "FUDGE! FUDGE!" but then wants to be "Naughty Lily" and drops the F-bomb, thereby freeing her more "rebellious" side. *legit had the biggest eye roll here while reading this part in the book*
I definitely preferred Dash's POV more, but only slightly. The other characters, such as Boomer, felt like caricatures. I'm a bit surprised at the writing in this book, as these authors are not new to writing for young adults but the voices all felt like what uninformed adults might think young people are like. Appreciating the fact that Dash and Lily may be quirkier than the "average" teenager, but all of it just felt so forced. So many needlessly set up moments when one thing could have been said to avoid all of it.
I really wanted to like this more, given how much I liked the first one but this really didn't work for me. It isn't very happy or joyful for a holiday book and certainly left me feeling more annoyed than uplifted for Christmas! However, if you can overlook some of the cheesiness and moody feelings from the characters, then you might like this more than I did....more
Oh, how I wanted to love this book more... I definitely acknowledge that I'm probably in the minority on the lukewarm feelings I am having though. For me, there's a love/hate relationship with my first read of 2017. Admittedly, this may have not been the wisest choice of book, on the heels of all that holiday cheer, the story is just as sad and depressing as the synopsis makes it out to be. That's not to say that the premise wasn't intriguing. I thought it was quite unique from what I have read in the past.
Initially, I appreciated the rawness with which Silvera writes Griffin - the OCD compulsions, the emotional and physical parts of his relationships, and his open grief at the loss of his first love. But after so many pages of the same kinds of feelings and thoughts, I got a bit fed up with him. It felt very long at times, when it's not actually that long of a book. Without giving anything away, I got really irritated at the choices that Silvera had Griffin make. Yes, I understand the character is grieving and people deal with grief in many different ways. I just thought some of the moments were unnecessary and a bit contrived. (view spoiler)[Like, the fact that Griffin had to sleep with basically every male he encountered? (hide spoiler)]. Even with the revelation from one particular character, I was a bit disappointed at the author's choice to do this as well. (view spoiler)[I'm referring to Wade's coming out "surprise". Not once was it eluded to the entire story, and I had been enjoying the dynamic that gay and straight guys could be friends together and not have it be super weird (hide spoiler)]. My intention at pointing that out is not to offend, but more like it felt a bit convenient of a plot device. It definitely generated a big eye roll from this reader here.
Additionally, and this is a minor-ish thing, but given that the setting of this story takes place around the time that the book is actually out - meaning many people may be reading it around this time period - I wish they had caught the error in the dates. I was hoping it was just an oversight in the advanced copy, but the final version did not fix all of it. The dates aren't accurate with the actual calendar, right from the very first page. It's not until 69 pages in that it suddenly gets corrected, as you'll see below at the end of the review. I mean, if they had caught the rest of the date discrepancies, why not check all of it before the final printing?
All that being said, I did think this was an interesting take on a story about lost love. It was different from stories I had read previously and I loved that it normalized a same sex relationship. Other than the typical embarrassing teenage moment or two, Silvera wrote Theo and Griffin's relationship so naturally with the support system of their family and friends. It was refreshing to see a story that wasn't a traumatic coming out story or the trials and tribulations of the mere fact of being together.