Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

Dash and Lily's Book of DaresDash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Number of pages:  240
My copy: hardbound, Christmas gift from Ace

“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.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

* * *

One day early this year (way before I met the Goodreads people) I was going around Fully Booked in Eastwood when I suddenly had this little fantasy. I wondered: what if, as I was looking for books to get, I meet a guy who has the same taste in books as I do? A straight, single guy, near my age, who reads for fun? And let’s make him cute, too.

It was a little fantasy that my friends and I entertained often, and it almost became a topic of a story for my fiction blog (one day I will write that). It was definitely something my single bookish friends and I thought would be very nice but may be rare, as we know few guys who are willing to read the same books we do, and most of the people we see in the bookstore near our office is filled with girls (that is, until I met the Goodreads people, again).

So it’s no wonder why Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan would call to me. Okay, I didn’t really pay attention to it first because I wasn’t really a fan of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by the same authors, until I read a review. I checked the sample and fell in love with it on the first few pages, particularly on the opening scene. Dash finds a red notebook amidst the books in the Strand, and inside were a bunch of clues left by a girl named Lily. He figures out the clues and thus starts the passing of the red Moleskine notebook back and forth between the two. Dash and Lily accomplish dares all around New York City from each other and bare their innermost thoughts to the other through the red notebook, all the while wondering if the words represent the persons behind them.

The story happens during the holidays, so I figured Christmas should be the right time to read it (thanks again to Ace for giving me a copy during the Goodreads Christmas party). And I was right. I am so glad I read it at this time of the year. :) Like I said, I wasn’t very enamored by Nick and Norah, but Dash and Lily really made me fall in love. There’s so many things to love. Maybe it was the bookstore? Maybe it’s the Moleskine notebook (which I love, by the way)? Maybe it’s how the story unfolded despite it being slightly hard to believe?

Dash and Lily are two very interesting characters. They’re not the angsty teenagers that we read in contemporary YA but they’re very smart and witty teens who are very different yet they speak to each other in ways only they can understand. While I didn’t find Dash particularly dashing, I thought he was very well-adjusted for his age. Perhaps it was all the reading that he does that makes him a gentler version of the male gender? I don’t know, but I’d like to think so. Lily, on the other hand, is probably the most optimistic female character I’ve ever read so far. She isn’t one of those angsty teenage characters who cannot find happiness or love in other people, or those kids who worry about their image so much that they’d get diet pills with amphetamine even if they don’t know its side effects. She reminds me of myself in so many ways: she bakes, she likes animals, her positive outlook, and in how she’s never had a boyfriend. Lily is such a delight to read because I feel like I’m reading some things I write, almost like I was reading my journal.

And just as the characters, the story was very charming. It tried to tackle more than the usual boy-meets-girl-and-they-fall-in-love story and that’s good, but sometimes the connections and issues feel a bit too messy and hard to follow. The entire interaction may seem a bit far-fetched too, and I don’t think this will be very effective here in Manila, but I can forgive that for the sake of fiction (and that’s why it happened in New York and not here, LOL). Despite that, though, I thought the plot was well-executed, and I found myself hanging on to every word all the way up to the end.

My copy of Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares has so many dog-ears too because of the quotable quotes! For example:

Pretty Aussie cover for Dash and Lily :)

Prayer or not, I want to believe that, despite all evidence to the contrary, it is possible for anyone to find that special person. That person to spend Christmas with or grow old with or just take a nice silly walk in Central Park with. (Lily, p. 75)

I wish I could remember the moment when I was a kid and I 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. (Dash, p. 87)

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 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. (p. 131)

And my favorite (and is very applicable for the coming year):

There are just lots of possibilities in the world…I need to keep my mind open for what could happen and not decide that the world is hopeless if what I want to happen doesn’t happen. Because something else great might happen in between. (p. 227)

The blurb was right. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares is a feel good book that would make you want to start “…perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.” It doesn’t have to be Christmas when you read it, but the holidays add to the ambiance. It’s the kind of book that will surely leave you smiling long after you have read the last word. :)

I’m not about to start looking for a red notebook in Fully Booked…but as for leaving one? I’ll never tell. ;)

Rating: [rating=4]

Other Reviews:
Steph Su Reads
Bart’s Bookshelf
The Huffington Post

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Leave a comment on any entry from December 24 to January 9 and get a chance to win some of my favorite books in 2010! Open international! :)

29 Thoughts on “Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

  1. I loved Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist! No doubt that I will like this book! I’ll be getting a copy of this, hope there will be at Fullybooked :)

    • I think I may have to re-read Nick and Norah. I didn’t like it on my first read because of all the curse words. Dash and Lily is cleaner in terms of that. :D You’ll like this, I’m sure of it! :)

      • I agree with you! The curse words are not easy in the eye but as I go on, I ignored it and appreciate more the love story. And definitely, Dash and Lily will be epic. I CAN FEEL IT.

  2. This is one of my fav books 2010 and I really like your review!Like your thought about Dash and Lily being different but finding their own language to speak to each other:) The red notebook was such a good idea,xmas spirit included. Perfect winter read! I need to visit The Strand one day:D

  3. I have seen this book a lot in many book blog.I am looking forward to read it.
    I fall for the cover

  4. This books sounds sooo good. I haven’t read Nick& Norah’s yet, but thats on my wishlist too

  5. This book sounds awesome and it really seems like a perfect Christmas read :P I haven’t read Nick and Norah but I think there is a movie of it right? I would definitely put this on my wishlist and like I said before I am a sucker for literary characters who loves to read, and I guess Dash fits the bill. :)

    • Yes, Nick and Norah is also a movie. :) I wouldn’t be surprised if they make this one, too. Dash is a very smart and poetic character. :)

  6. Aaah! I want this book too! I just hope I get my copy from my friend soon =)

  7. I also didn’t like Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. I think the movie was better. But! I enjoyed Dash & Lily a lot. It was funny and… yeah, I was tempted to dog-ear some of the pages too. There were a lot of quotes that I loved there, but since I only borrowed it… Times like this make me wish that I have an e-reader – bookmarking would be very much easier.

    • Yeah, I liked the movie better too. I want to buy an ebook of this one so I can easily search the quotes! I forget which quote was in which dog-eared page! ^^

  8. It’s so nice to read a review of this book because it’s sure getting a lot of hype around the blogosphere. I’m glad you liked it!I haven’t read Nick and Norah so I wasn’t sure if I should pick this up. Did you see the movie? I didn’t love it. I am however in love with the Aussie cover.

    • I liked the Nick and Norah movie more than the book, but I found them all too angsty for my taste. I think the selling point of this one for us bookworms is the bookstore part. A love story that starts with the bookstore is something worth reading. :)

  9. I never read Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, but I think I will read this because I’ve read a lot a positive reviews. I also like the idea of the characters not being so angsty for once! Like you said, Lily seems really relatable. Anyway, great review!

  10. so excited to read it :)! Those quotes you chose are really appealing… and I loooved Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist!

  11. I really want to read this one so I’m glad it’s getting positive reviews. I love the US cover, but I would love the Aussie cover as a movie poster.

    • The Aussie cover IS good for a movie poster! Cool. I never thought of that. They are making a movie for this, too, and I’m very curious on how they’d adapt it on the screen. I hope they do the book justice! :)

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  13. Love the review! I have an ebook copy waiting to be read but this one seems like it deserves to be read on paper. Will definitely pick up a copy of this after all the NYE festivities! :)

  14. Nicole on January 1, 2011 at 11:59 pm said:

    hi Tina! I’ve read this last December. And its a good read! Funny thing is the way I found out about it was while thinking what I was going to choose for my office Christmas wish list. I was browsing the Fully Booked online when I stumbled upon it. I immediately listed it on my wishlist. But being me, impatient when it comes to books, right then and there I called Fully Booked and had it reserved that day. (haha) luckily I was able to reserve one since it was the last copy at the the Shangri-la hotel branch. I easily fell in love with the characters. I like how Dash was mature for his age and yet seem cool about it and Lily’s courage for taking in his brother plan. (sorry my comment seemed rather long. haha)
    btw did you know that this might turn into a movie? here’s the link: http://www.firstshowing.net/2010/10/27/director-lena-dunham-to-adapt-dash-and-lilys-book-of-dares/ i just hope they do justice with it. :)

    • Hi Nicole!

      I know how it feels to be very impatient about a book! Sometimes you need to reserve it immediately because you never know if it would still be there when you come back. That’s a very wise decision for you, because it’s hard to find a copy of this book now. :) Thank goodness my friend gave it to me for our Christmas party.:)

      Dash doesn’t seem like he’s just in high school, don’t you think? Sometimes I found him too poetic, but I realize a lot of the quotes I got were from him. Lily is so fun to read because of her innocence, and yes, her courage! I think my friends would love to do the same thing for me, but I don’t think I would be courageous enough to follow through. ^^

      I read about that movie deal. And yes, I hope they do justice with it! But I’m getting ready not to expect too much and just enjoy the ride. They should have a very good actor to play Boomer, though, and I hope they do find really good actors for Dash and Lily. I thought Michael Cera and Kat Dennings in Nick and Norah were just right for their roles, so I hope they find someone similar for this movie.

      And look at this long comment, too. Thanks for visiting my blog. :)

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  17. Yay for 4 stars! This one’s sweet and hopeful :) perfect for you, Tina! Nick & Norah’s is more hardcore, but they are both favorites.

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  19. Is there an available copy still at Fully Booked in Eastwood?

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