Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dash and Lily's Book Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

(Photo taken from Goodreads)

Title: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
Author: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Language: English
ISBN - 10: 0375866590
ISBN - 13: 978-0375866593

How to present this review, I wasn't exactly sure. I wanted to give it a unique review in the way that it has given me a unique read. But alas, my creativity deserted me. So let's just talk about the book, and maybe I'll think of something great as I go. This is the third collaboration between Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. Previous books included Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, which was made into a movie starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings, and Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List named a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. Sweet, huh?

Let's go to the blurb, which is, apart from David Levithan, what made me get it in the first place:

"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,

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? Cold their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?"

Writing this book, the authors exchanged emails - not a red Moleskine notebook - and no plans were made beforehand. As I was reading, I imagined them playing a game of continue-my-email-story, Levithan writing something about Dash and then daring Cohn to follow up with an appropriate but quirky response through Lily. I am almost sure that is what happened, and the result? A pleasant, fun, smart, and endearing story of an adventure through New York to find not just love, but friendship, answers, and self.

The best thing about reading a David Levithan book is that while reading, I have this background music for that book. For Boy Meets Boy, although Tony by Patty Griffin was mentioned a few times, with a dedication to the Tony from the song, I always heard Dancing in the Moonlight by King Harvest, maybe it was because the first chapter had Paul and his friends dancing in the bookstore. I think this is because his books are filled to the brim with music references, and with Rachel Cohn with him at the helm, it just got better, and this one is no exception. If you read it, you might even be pleasantly surprised to see some cameos from another book of theirs. But back to the music: for Dash and Lily's, I always heard December 2 Chapter VII by a band here in the Philippines, Taken by Cars. I think because this story was set in December that I immediately thought of that song. And probably this part too:

"But I wasn't where you were
No, I was never where you are
I'm in my looking-glass view
Always almost too close to you
I'm always almost too close to you."

When I hear those lyrics, I think of Dash and Lily and think how they were almost the ones who knew each others' real feelings and secrets, yet they do not even really know each other.

I totally loved this book! It was filled with interesting characters, popular New York landmarks, and even better dialogue. The conversations between Dash and Lily in their red notebook was very meaningful and inspirational, it was a well-written essay about identity, hope, and other such deep and thoughtful subjects. Come to think of it, the whole book was almost like reading a beautiful essay, only this was a beautiful work of fiction. Some might think that because of these deep and meaningful stuff, then it might not be a good choice for teens, but really, young adults would enjoy this book. I think this story could actually answer some questions that most of them have, that most people have. Even looking past the ponderous ideas thrown back and forth between the two main characters, and just reading this for the story that it is, is very interesting, engrossing, and enjoying.

The authors also threw in a lot of humor, and readers will find themselves laughing out loud at some scenes. But the story is not just humor-filled, it has a lot of emotions thrown in that readers will find themselves commiserating with Lily, falling for Dash, annoyed at the bookstore people, even becoming endeared to that cute and cuddly great-aunt Ida/Mrs. Basil. E. It makes you wish you were part of that story.

Another reason why I would love to recommend this book is that it's got a lot of words that we can add into our vocabulary. Dash is a word nerd, and his dialogue has a lot of words like erudition, arcane - I'm not sure if many of you use these in daily conversations but it sounded very uncommon to me. And of course, knowing uncommon words is always an uncommon advantage.

I would gladly recommend this book to all my friends and people I know. I am pretty sure everyone would enjoy this, as there is something in Dash and Lily's for everyone. And I'm pretty sure I would re-read this countless times. Definitely one of my favorites for this year!

According to the news, the movie rights for this book was already acquired by Scott Rudin and writing/directing the film adaptation would be Lena Dunham. Gotta watch out for that!


  1. I really want to read this, but I am hesitant because I didn't care for either of the author's previous two books. Do you think I should give this one a chance?

    Following you back, thanks for stopping by The Darcy Review!

  2. Ooh, hey, I'm your 100th follower! That's the second time I've done that in two days!

  3. Hi, wow thank you for becoming my 100th follower! I will always remember you and this day. Can't think of anything to do to thank you, but I'll think of something soon, I promise :D

    And yeah, I think you should give this book a chance. I'd like to think this is better than the previous two books they wrote together - there's a lot of intelligent conversation going on, and the plot is really good. I really hope you'd love this one.

  4. Awesome review! I'm dying to read this book! I put it on hold at the library and I'm anxiously waiting for it to come in :o) Have you read Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green? If you haven't, I think you would really like it! Both books seem to have a similar style of story telling.

  5. How excellent Nina!!! I'm dying to read this book. So glad you liked it!

  6. I loved this book! It's one of my favorite! And I love Dash and every character and it's just a gush-worthy book! XD\


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