November 28, 2014

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

But isn't this a dance? Isn't all of this a dance? Isn't that what we do with words? Isn't that what we do when we talk, when we spar, when we make plans or leave it to chance? Some of it's choreographed. Some of the steps have been done for ages. And the rest- the rest is spontaneous. The rest has to be decided on the floor, in the moment, before the music ends.
-from Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

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Today I am going to tell you about the best YA book to read once you're ready to relax and bask in the glow of the holidays. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares takes place over the days preceding Christmas through New Year's Day. I started reading it last year on Christmas Eve and it was really special to follow these characters through the holiday week nearly in real time. I suggest picking it up this week to make your holidays a little merrier!

When Lily leaves a red moleskin notebook full of instructions amongst the shelves of her favorite book store in New York City, she hopes it will help h er find a special someone with whom to share her lonely teenaged life. Dash, an artfully articulate teenage boy solves all of the notebooks riddles and dares, but instead of simply returning it to Lily, he sends it back with some dares of his own. What ensues is a whimsical adventure of two teenagers trying to find their own blend of love during the holidays and deciphering if their relationship can be sustained outside of their notebook.

There's a lot of talk about this book: it seems either you love it or you hate it. But I think if you can suspend reality that there are enough teenagers as funny, articulate and intelligent as both Dash and Lily for the two of them to meet for a battle of wits via a red moleskin, then it's a lovely story. There are many times where Dash especially was irritatingly superior in his wit and vocabulary that I definitely was annoyed. However, the sweetness of the holiday season and innocence of their adventure into love allowed me to enjoy this story thoroughly.

I really appreciated how Cohn and Levithan collaborated on this book and wrote each character independently without any outline to guide the initial story. While both characters sounded years ahead of their time, they both maintained separate voices that helped adjust when they alternated the narrative. I liked both Lily and Dash, despite my previous complaints, and trusted them both as characters and storytellers.

The premise of the chase was intriguing and kept me entertained throughout the first half of this book, but what really sold me into adding a fourth star was the exploration of loving a real person versus loving a person in our head. This book expounds upon the importance of the person you're pursuing versus the person you want to pursue. It discusses the fine line between a fairy tale and a happy reality. I think it's an important message for teenaged and young adult readers, especially with the glamorous love projected by fairy tales and Hollywood. I don't think Dash and Lily are realistic representations of the teenaged populace, even in New York City, but I think they experience and learning process are very identifiable to people of all ages.

Bottom Line: Looking for a light holiday read that will fit right into your Christmas Eve through New Years Day schedule? Pick this one up for teenaged adventure, romance and new vocabulary words! 4/5 Stars.

1 comment:

  1. I've heard such wonderful things about this book that I can't quite figure out why I haven't read it yet...


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