Friday, November 26, 2010

Review: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares

Title: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares
Author(s): Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Publisher: Random House (10/26/10)

Summary: “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 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.

First Impressions: Oh, heart. This book left me giddy and cheerful. Book and word-loving protagonists! Letters actually written out longhand! Acknowledgement that a meet-cute doesn’t guarantee compatibility or happiness!

Plot: Girl leaves notebook in bookshelf (at the Strand!). Boy reads notebook, writes back. Madcap adventures ensue. Boy and girl must decide if it is worth the risk to meet. Will their chemistry translate off the page?

Style: Like the previous collaborations by Cohn and Levithan, the plot is just the backdrop, but it is charming nonetheless. The star of the show is New York City at Christmastime, and the interactions of two teenagers alone at the holidays create a wonderful character study for the authors to explore as they alternate chapters. The introspection of the characters as they write to each other is offset by the vibrancy of the city during “the most wonderful tiiiime... of the year.” I loved the tone and tempo of this book.

Characters: Being a word-obsessed person and an overthinker myself, I definitely felt a connection to Dash. Also, I have a tendency toward annoyingly sunny optimism and baking that made me adore Lily! Clearly, this book was made for me. The secondary characters, including Dash’s buddy Boomer and Lily’s boisterous family, especially Aunt Ida, were charming and added to the coziness that infused the book.

Wrap up: As you may have guessed, this book made me happy. It also inspired me to go grab Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and also Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List off the shelf. While I loved Nick and Norah, and liked Naomi and Ely, neither created as strong a connection within me as Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares. Regardless, Cohn and Levithan are clearly a great partnership and I will grab any book they write off the new books shelf without hesitation. (possibly before any teen patron has a chance.)

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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