Edna Lyn's Reviews > Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn
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Dec 17, 11

bookshelves: 2011, contemporary, young-adult
Read from December 05 to 07, 2011

What would you do if you found a notebook full of dares on your favorite shelf of a bookstore? Would you have the guts to take on the challenges or would you just put the notebook back in its place? David Levithan and Rachel Cohn make their characters Dash and Lily confront those very questions in their third collaborative novel, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. Two very different teenagers embark on a scavenger hunt of dares, set during the holidays with the fantastic backdrop of New York City. Through the notebook they find a genuine connection in a short amount of time. Are they only meant to be friends on the pages or will meeting in person ruin the magic?

It won't come to a surprise that David Levithan and Rachel Cohn have yet another successful collaboration on their hands. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares uses alternating narratives; Levithan wrote Dash's chapters while Cohn was set with Lily's. Once Levithan would finish a chapter, he would e-mail it to Cohn to respond with in another chapter. They are so in sync; their styles are each quite apparent, but the chapters and characters still effortlessly flow together.

Dash is snarly, slightly pretentious, and a huge book nerd. Honestly, tell me one teen you know who'd wish for the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary. Not many, right? Lily is a little left of center and marches to her own beat. She was known as the weird girl at school who keeps to herself. This year, with a little push from her brother, she's branching out. Dash and Lily have differing views on the holidays—he's jaded by the whole affair while she embraces it with her entire heart—but they manage to find a balance with books and musings that works well together.

This novel has such a creative premise. Through their journal the characters challenge each other on a scavenger hunt of sorts to find it in various New York locations and answer questions. It's a refreshing view of teenagers who aren't stuck to technology, glued to their smartphone or videogame system. Dash and Lily have some profound, reflective moments contemplating things like family, desires, belief and J.D. Salinger characters—all through trading journal entries. Don't get me wrong, it's not without humor though. There's a hilarious incident to retrieve the journal—Lily's dare—where Dash has to deal with an outspoken angry elf, a touchy-feely Santa, and horrified parents and children. Trust me when I say it's a great laugh-out-loud moment. The entire journey is a fantastic mix of introspection and hilarity. The chances of something like this happening in real life? Slim to none. But that's exactly why I liked it. It's a fun look at “what if?” If we had a perfect world without crazy, dangerous people, then yeah, doesn't this sound like a blast?

Dash and Lily will inspire you to get yourself a journal and leave it behind in a used bookstore for someone to find. Or maybe you might go poking around the shelves in search of one. Readers of all ages, not just teenagers, can curl up to this lovely heartwarming holiday story this winter. Also, for anyone who thinks the young adult genre is dumbed down—I dare you to try this novel out.

Cross-posted on Wit & Fancy.
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Reading Progress

12/06/2011
17.0% ""You're NAUGHTY!" the elf screamed. "Very NAUGHTY!" omg, THIS book...THIS scene — mortifying and hilarious." 6 comments

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Laura Wonderful review! I loved your closing dare! :D


Edna Lyn Thank you!


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