Saturday 5 January 2013

Review: - Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Last year, around the time I begrudgingly decided that in order to call myself an eclectic and unbiased reader I really had to get over my unreasonable dislike of YA books and start to read some, I added Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares to my Wishlist. I think that I’d read a couple of reviews of it and decided it sounded like something I could just about deal with. What I didn’t realise was that a) there was a book of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (which I absolutely adore the movie of, probably because of my completely illogical love of Michael Cera – because, come on , Scott Pilgrim vs the World was pretty much the best film of the last few years. It just was.), and b) it was written by the same people behind Dash and Lily. So there’s that, and it was a good start.

Victoria very kindly sent me this copy of Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan as an RAK last month and I started reading it pretty much the moment it arrived. It’s written in alternate chapters, one from Dash’s point of view and one from Lily’s, which is a format I really enjoyed as a teenager, so immediately I started reading I was taken back to the books I loved as a teenager and I’ll admit to being sucked in early on. I also loved the fact that while the central storyline is fairly standard (boy meets girl etc etc), the way that it’s written is a little out of the ordinary . Dash and Lily, for the majority of the book, communicate through a red Moleskine notebook which they leave in various places, asking each other questions and daring each other to do various things. I have an obsession with Moleskine notebooks – there’s just nothing like them for inspiration. I think it’s a combination of the binding and the gorgeous paper, but every time I write in one I just feel like a genius, despite being very far from. So they have their own special kind of magic and because of that I totally got the importance that it holds for them, but especially for Lily.

While I’m at it, can I just say that I really loved Lily. If I’d finished this in 2012, she would have been my most memorable character in the End of Year Survey, but oh well. I love that she’s so excited about things and so self aware and into her family and just generally lovely. There should be more lovely characters in books I think. Obviously, I also loved the fact that a bookshop runs through the centre of the story, and that there are constant quotations and literary references. Basically, it was pretty good and did nothing to help me rationalise exactly what it is that made me object so much to YA for so many years. Hmm.

After reading Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, I’m quite keen to add everything Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written to my wishlist, starting with Nick and Norah. 


  1. I actually LOVE YA--and I have to add this one to my list. It sounds like a lot of fun. I haven't read a lot of David Levithan, but I just finished Everyday--which was amazing. Such a beautiful, haunting book. I'd highly recommend it if you're looking for something out of the ordinary. :)

  2. I love this book :) It's such a great Christmas read, and I think it's unique among YA books - 2 teens, who are smart but relatively normal and not all bogged down with teenage angst, and there's no vampires/werewolves/love triangles or any of the million other things that can be annoying in YA.

    I like Dash's ability to be all "snarly" but still a good kid and good friend, and Lily is so great! She's so happy and I loved her use of the word "Lilyverse".

    So yeah. I love this book. Glad you enjoyed it :D