My Thoughts On Dash & Lily's Book Of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

9 March 2015


Dash & Lily's Book Of Dares is a cute, quirky read that I devoured in a couple of sittings. Set during Christmas in New York, I knew I would love this book before I even turned the first page. Manhattan during Christmas is something I dream of experiencing, so with that expectation in mind, I sat down with this novel. If cute, fun reads are your thing, Dash & Lily's Book Of Dares is definitely a story you should check out.

Dash - short for Dashiell (why wouldn't it be?) - is a character I had to learn to love. Sarcastic, cynical, and quite obnoxious in his own loquacious kind of way at times, I struggled to see the appeal. Taking a step back from my own thoughts, however, I started to understand why Lily was so intrigued. The manner in which he presents himself is uncommon for a sixteen-year-old boy, and I think that's what caused my initial aversion to him. Once I managed to get past that, however, I started appreciating him a little more. Dash has a certain charm that goes beyond the norm, and I found myself laughing with him more often than not. Underneath the snarly exterior, however, is a lonely teenage boy who doesn't truly fit in anywhere. It's that side of Dash that caused him to follow the dares in the notebook, and it's that Dash that Lily could relate to. Overall, Levithan managed to give Dash a good balance of snarly and sweet, and I ended up thoroughly invested in his story.

Lily is a misfit that tries too hard, in my opinion. She's resigned herself to being unpopular, despite wishing things were different, and that is why she's unpopular. At the end of the day, if you don't make an effort with other people, why should they make an effort with you? Lily's naïve nature was in stark contrast to Dash's wisdom beyond his years, and while this would normally make for an interesting read, Lily's attitude towards life made for a minor setback when it came to rating this book. Despite all of that, however, I still appreciated her as a character. The development we see in her is strong and towards the end of the book, it was difficult to remember how she started. Slow, realistic growth. That's what I like to see.

This novel was filled to the brim with interesting secondary characters, too. Boomer, Great-Aunt Ida, Langston, Mark, Grandpa... They all had their part to play in the dares, and I loved each and every one of them. In fact, my favourite part of the entire book featured Great-Aunt Ida and the cup of tea she never served. Her interrogation of Dash made me laugh out loud, and I absolutely loved their interactions. After all, if Great-Aunt Ida approves of you, there's nothing that's going to get in your way.

The romance itself was cute and light, though there were some deep messages passed via the notebook. Cohn and Levithan managed to create the perfect balance of fun and meaningful, creating a relationship that developed slowly. Neither character deluded themselves into thinking that they were going to have some great love affair, though neither admitted that they could only be friends, either. At the end of the day, the authors left it pretty much up to chance either way, though there were definite hurdles along the path that did veer off to a slightly more romantic ending.

Overall, this was a cute contemporary novel with just the right amount of humour and romance. Despite Dash being too wise for his years and Lily a little too naive, this definitely read like YA fiction. I breezed through this book and if adorable contemporary novels are your thing, I know you will too. Dash & Lily's Book Of Dares certainly lived up to my expectations, and I definitely regret not picking it up sooner.