Book review: Dash and Lily’s book of dares.

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares – Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (2010, Ember, New York)

From the authors that brought us Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (which the outer book jacket mentions no less than 3 times) and the slightly lesser known Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, voici Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, a cutesy, formulaic teenage romance that nonetheless stands up due to its fun factor.

The authors actually e-mailed the chapters back and forth to one another – Levithan supplying the voice of Dash, and Cohn, Lily – and it shows; some of the incidents the characters get themselves into feel like they were done totally on the fly, in a scramble of improv (and in some cases, huge stretches of sense).  Silliness abounds – actively seeking giggles from the reader is definitely the name of the game here – and, as the book is set in New York at Christmastime, a little handful of sentimentality is thrown in for good measure (even though Dash HATES Christmas.  Of course he does).

The premise:  Lily, bored and longing for someone to spend Christmas with, is spurred to action by her brother and his boyfriend to set up a “Book of Dares,” a red notebook that she leaves in a certain bookstore in New York City…for a potential suitor to find.   Enter Dash, the equally bored, if slightly more jaded, suitor material.  The two engage in shenanigans via the notebook’s instructions for most of the book, upping the ante…until circumstance forces them to meet and there’s all this doubt and a tiny bit of angst and then, just maybe, a really sweet finish?  Nah, I won’t spoil it for anyone.  As I said before, this book is really cute, and it would probably be even better if you are fourteen years old when you read it.


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