Rebecca's Reviews > Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn
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Mar 18, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: age-high-school
Read in December, 2010

I was lucky enough to read this Christmas NYC love story right around Christmas, which was very satisfying. I've like all of the Levithan/Cohn partnerships, and this was no exception. Dash and Lily first meet via red moleskin notebook and pass it back and forth -- a method that is definitely going on my Nerd Courtship fantasy list!

Speaking of Nerd, avert your eyes for an insanely long list of favorite quotes:

"Some bookstores want you to believe they're a community center, like they need to host a cookie-making class in order to sell you some Proust. But the Strand leaves you completely on your own, caught between the warring forces of organization and idiosyncracy, with idiosyncracy winning every time. In other words, it was my kind of graveyard."

"My athletic ability mixed with my complete social apathy are what got me elected captain of the soccer team. I'm the only person who gets along with everyone, by way of not being friends with anyone."

(the fictional movie "Collation" as a sendup of Disney/Pixar fare was one of my favorite details)

"I've always resented Hermione, because I wanted to be her so badly and she never seemed to appreciate as much as I thought she should that she got to be her. She got to live at Hogwarts and be friends with Harry and kiss Ron, which was supposed to happen to me."

"We know the sentences and how to say them. We know the ideas and how to present them. We know the prayers and which words to say in what order. But that's only spelling...I wish I could remember the moment when I was a kid and discovered that the letters linked into words, and that the words linked to real things. What a revelation that must have been. We don't have the words for it, since we hadn't yet learned the words. It must have been astonishing, to be given the key to the kingdom and see it turn in our hands so easily."

"My hands were starting to shake a little. Because I hadn't known that I knew these things. Just having a notebook to write them in, and having someone to write them to, made them all rise to the surface."

"I spent hours doing this. I didn't say a word, but I wasn't conscious of my silence. The sound of my own life, my own internal life, was all that I needed. It felt like a holiday, but that had nothing to do with Jesus or the calendar or what anyone else in the world was doing."

"I know you want to know my name. But if I told you my name, even just the first name, you'd be able to go online and find all of these inaccurate, incomplete depictions of me...And even if you swore up and down that you wouldn't check, the temptation would always be there. So I'd like to remain at that one delicate remove, so you can get to know me without the distraction of other people's noise. I hope that's okay."

"...sometimes it's interesting to find his notes [in books] and to read them back and try to decipher why that particular passage intrigued or inspired him. It's a cool way of getting inside my brother's brain."

"Our love had been liking; our feelings had been ordinary, not Shakespearean. I still felt fondness for her--fondness, that pleasant, detached mix of admiration and sentiment, appreciation and nostalgia."

"'Don't worry. It's your embarrassment at not having the thought that counts.'"

"'I mean, like most guys, you carry around this girl in your head, who is exactly what you want her to be. The person you think you will love the most. And every girl you are with gets measured against the girl in your head. So this girl with the red notebook -- it makes sense. If you never meet her, she never has to get measured. She can be the girl in your head...You think fairy tales are only for girls? Here's a hint -- ask yourself who wrote them. I assure you, it wasn't just the women. It's the great male fantasy -- all it takes is one dance to know that she's the one. All it takes is the sound of her song from the tower, or a look at her sleeping face. And right away you know -- this is the girl in your head, sleeping or dancing or singing right in front of you. Yes, girls want their princes, but boys want their princesses just as much. And they don't want a very long courtship. They want to know immediately....Be careful what you're doing, because no one is ever who you want them to be. And the less you really know them, the more likely you are to confuse them with the girl or boy in your head...You should never wish for wishful thinking."

"I always hoped after the prince found Cinderella and they rode away in their magnificent carriage, after a few miles she turned to him and said, 'Could you drop me off down the road, please? Now that I've finally escaped my life of horrific abuse, I'd like to see something of the world, you know? Maybe backpack across Europe or Asia? I'll catch back up with you later, Prince, once I've found my own way.'"

"Clearly, it was time for Lily to have the kind of boy adventures that would allow her to give legitimate love advice, later in the future."

"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 fabric seemed soaked in wine."

"The old woman made me meet her eye. 'Listen to me: I never married because I was too easily bored. It's an awful, self-defeating trait to have. It's much better to be too easily interested.'"

"It is possibly true what Grandpa's buddies have repeatedly told me: Teenage boys cannot be trusted. Their intentions are not pure."

"I've waited all my life for that first kiss. I wasn't going to ruin it by allowing whole bases to be skipped."

"We are reading the story of our lives
As though we were in it,
As though we had written it."
--Mark Strand

"I was attempting to write the story of my life. It wasn't so much about plot. It was much more about character."

"But love needs to have a future. And Sofia and I didn't have a future. We've just had a good time sharing the present, that's all."
"You really think love needs to have a future?"
"Absolutely."
"Good," Lily said. "So do I."

"In some ways, I think I'll never be over him," Langston said.
"That is such an unsatisfying answer."
"That's because you're interpreting it the wrong way. I don't mean it as a wistful, overdramatic declaration. I meant that the love I felt for him was huge and real, and, while painful, it forever changed me as a person, in the same way that being your brother reflects and changes how I evolve, and vice versa. The important people in our lives leave imprints. They may stay or go in the physical realm, but they are always there in your heart, because they helped form your heart. There's no getting over that."
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Gwen (new)

Gwen Couldn't avert my eyes. And this only got 4 stars? What was lacking?


Rebecca Well, not much was really lacking -- I might have given it 5 stars if I rated it the minute after I read it. The characters were smart and winning, but almost too smart for high school at times. Unrealistically witty, if you will. But I still enjoy that. :) I also feel like I am too generous with my 5-stars -- who's going to believe my constant gushing if I 5-star everything?


message 3: by Gwen (new)

Gwen Well when you back it up with quotes like these, I'M ready to gush it I mean rate it 5-stars, and I haven't even read it. So it's more of an adult book than a young adult book? All the better. Thanks for the clarity: as a fellow gusher, I'll now read your 4-star reviews with a grain of uh.....saline tears.


Rebecca Well, the characters are high schoolers and it's published for young people -- I just found the teens' precociousness to be a little unbelievable. But David Levithan is good at characters like that -- he doesn't dumb them down. His books seem to be universally loved by the adults that pick them up. This is the third book he's co-written with another author for teens, Rachel Cohn.


message 5: by Catherine (new)

Catherine I love the quotes! Thanks for taking the time to share. The Hermione one is especially good! And boys wanting their princess-so true.


Rebecca Thank you, Cath! I always feel self-conscious about my multitudes of quotes!


message 7: by Catherine (new)

Catherine I'm all about the quotes! I do it too! It's the best way to remember why you loved a book.


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