Title: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares
Author: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 10-26-10
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Holiday
This book was adorable! This is my third book by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn and it’s probably my second favorite, my first being Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist. Levithan’s characters are always so quirky and memorable…they’re the kind of teenagers that I wish I could’ve been friends with in high school, but also the kind of dorky, average kid that we can all relate to and find a special place in our hearts.
I love the idea of a book of dares that passes back and forth between two people, as they slowly begin to learn more and more about each other, based on where the book takes them and what they write in it. It’s a unique premise that is totally “Levithan” and makes me want to start my own adventure journal to hide in the next bookstore I visit!
“Are you going to be playing for the pure thrill of unreluctant desire?”
I also really liked that one of the themes in the novel is the idea of having this version of your ideal boy or girl in your mind that you constantly compare real-life people to. And how, when you’re not conversing with a person face-to-face, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the illusion that this person is perfect for you, because you can kind of make them conform to that person in your head. Throughout the book, Dash struggled to separate the notebook-Lily from the ideal-Lily who lived in his head, and his friends questioned whether he actually had true feelings for her. This theme is universal, especially in this world of online communities and relationships, and is something that I can definitely relate to. It’s also not a theme I’ve ever seen in a book before, so I really enjoyed reading about it.
“I mean, like most guys, you carry around this girl in your head, who is exactly who you want her to be. The person you think you will love the most. And every girl you are with gets measured against this girl in your head.”
My only complaint would be that it was kind of fluffy and over-the-top. But that’s what Levithan’s books are about. It’s just not really my type of thing. I like the quirky-ness and the relatability, but some of it was too far-fetched and a little weird. I also didn’t find myself connecting with the characters as much as I wanted to. Dash and Lily were cute, but they didn’t seem very real to me, and I wasn’t convinced of their chemistry. It seemed more like they were meant to be really close friends instead of boyfriend and girlfriend. I was looking for something just a little bit deeper…something that this book scraped the surface of, but just wasn’t quite there.