In Review: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

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Author: David Levithan and Rachel Cohn Publisher: Mira Ink Year: 2014 Pages: 309

I feel the time between Christmas and New Year’s to be the weirdest. You are just hungover from all the food you eat on the past two days and when you finally think you already took everything out of your system is New Year’s Eve. Although I found Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares to be the perfect book for this time. Despite taking place from the 21st of December until the 1st January, when I finish reading it, I thought it was already the 26 or 27 when actually was the 18. So if a book has the ability to trick your brain into thinking you are in a place in time you actually aren’t, it’s well done. And even better if you read said book on the time it actually takes place.

David Levithan and Rachel Cohn have joined once again to bring a new romance. You probably already heard of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist either if it was the book or the movie starring Kat Dennings and Michael Cera. Either way, it’s another story from this duo and after reading Dash & Lily I think they are the perfect match. If you don’t know what this book is about, here’s a little synopsis:

Dash doesn’t care about Christmas, is parents have divorced a few years ago and Christmas as never been the same. While visiting his favourite bookstore in town, he founds a little red notebook next to his favourite book. When he opened it, on the first page is written: “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.” With nothing else interesting to do, Dash decided to take the challenge.

On the other side of the book is Lily. She loves Christmas! Like really, really loves it. The kind of person that dresses festive sweaters without being obligated and likes to sing carols. Although this is the first time she is going to spend Christmas alone with her brother. At the age of 16, no boyfriend, and no plans until New Year, the red notebook cames up as a way to pass time and possibly meet boys.

Every chapter is told from Dash and Lily perspective alternating between each other while they pass along the book back and forward. I was expecting the initial challenges from Lily to last longer than it actually did. The same way I thought Dash and Lily were already adults instead of teenagers. The basic idea I think is great, but the execution could be different. Throughout the first half of the book, I was just reading, learning about Dash and Lily while the dares themselves would take a small part in each chapter. Although when you reach the end it’s so worth it. All those memories and slow moments lead to an end that I wasn’t expecting.

I didn’t care enough for the characters as I wished for and reading other reviews I think that was the general problem. For some reason getting to know their pass wasn’t that much interesting. But again, once you are free from that part of the story, it turns into a cute romance that will make you cheering for them to be together. You still get to see the characters growth, which happens actually a little to fast for my taste. Although you can easily connect with the persons they turn after rather the ones they are in the beginning. The positive side on this is that we have the second book The 12 Days of Dash and Lily which should bring the characters we have in the end in another adventure.

Also from time to time, it would appear out of nowhere a really funny moment. There is one in the beginning that made me stop reading to laugh and another one really funny closer to the end. I wish it would have more moments like that on the entire story, but once you get to know their background you see that a comic approach doesn’t match with their personalities. And I think because of that, this book wasn’t the right choice to do a countdown to Christmas. You don’t get that Christmas vibe, actually quite the opposite. Both characters aren’t exactly celebrating Christmas since they are apart from their families. So is just a day of the year that they don’t do much or better they do nothing at all. It’s a different approach to the Christmas time, which makes me think it’s the perfect book to read after Christmas.

This is only the second book I have read that is co-wrote, so I don’t have enough knowledge to say either if the book was well written or not. Although compared with the other one I’ve read (Let It Snow) it’s great. I didn’t notice any big change of voice from chapter to chapter since Rachel wrote Lily’s point of view and David wrote Dash’s, but it looks like is wrote by just one person. And they also wrote together 5 books including Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, so they work well together or else they would have stopped at one. I think any writing differences both authors have was well worked or covered up by the story and the characters. Any slightly change you can have on both points of view is grabbed by the characters and transformed into their personalities. While Dash is more down/sad and slow, Lily is more energetic and happy.

Bottom line, if you have this book on your self and haven’t read it yet, now is the time. Christmas had passed and New Year is upon us, so there isn’t a better time to read this book while you wait for the ball to drop and your midnight kiss.

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