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

Rating: somewhere between 2.75-3/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 10/26/2010

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About the Book: While wandering the stacks in The Strand, Dash discovers a red moleskin notebook with a list of clues. And so beings Dash and Lily's adventures across New York through a red notebook. Each one leaving messages and clues to the other and sending each other on various dares. But are Dash and Lily destined to meet in real life or is there relationship for the notebook only?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: OK, I really, really, really wanted to like this one-honestly I did. But it just fell flat for me. I loved the idea of trading a notebook back and forth and getting to know each other, but the execution just wasn't what I wanted.

First off, I found Lily to be an annoying character. She was immature and just so ridiculously goofy that I had a hard time taking her seriously. She took quirky to a whole new level! As I was reading, I figured out that Lily reminded me a lot of Luna Lovegood and while I love Luna, she's not the type of character that can really carry a story but works better as a side character. Lily's quirks and immaturity just grated on my nerves after awhile and I tired of reading about her-she drained me as a reader which made the book less fun.

If Lily was the immature, quirky one who wholeheartedly believes in love and happiness, than Dash is the postmodern hipster who instead wants to analyze relationships and be pessimistic. Together I never felt any chemistry between them and I didn't really understand what they would see in each other. I also had problems with Dash's best friend Boomer-was he twelve or seventeen? I thought he and Lily might have made a better match than Dash and Lily!

The adventures they go on are somewhat fun, although full of convience, like relatives with awesome jobs crawling out the woodwork. There is some humor in the book-the one thing I did love was the fake Pixar movie Collation-hilarious!-but not as much humor as I would expect from these authors. There were just parts that didn't work for me. The book started out as a romantic comedy adventure and tried to turn into an examination of relationships yet never quite pulled it off. Instead it ended up loosing the romantic comedy aspect and when it tries to pick it up again it becomes too ridiculous and crazy. The notebook is lost halfway through the book and that's when we try to get this turn into a "let's examine what makes relationships work" story but by that point I was bored with the characters and tired of reading about them. Neither one had anything that made me keep reading, but I did in hopes that it would somehow redeem itself.

I wasn't satisfied with the ending either. I was left wondering if these characters really did like each other instead of the nice happy ending I wanted. Instead I was left feeling like I wasted my time and Dash and Lily wasted their time. Overall I was disappointed-I was hoping for a fun romantic comedy, but instead was left with characters that had no chemistry, that I didn't care about, and that I thought had no future-so much for my romantic holiday read! If you want a fun romantic read for the holidays, I'd suggest Let it Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green and Lauren Myracle instead.

Reviewed From ARC picked up at ALA


  1. I decided to try some holiday books to get into the holiday spirit but none of the books I tried (including this one) seem to accomplish that.
    Maybe it was just me but I felt Lily was a oh so you want a character who doesn't swear like a sailor here try this one. But she was just so unlikeable it felt like some sort of joke between the authors that I did not feel apart of.

  2. Connie-Exactly-she never felt real to me-instead she felt like a caricature and I never liked her because of that.

  3. I was starting to feel like I was the only one who didn't love this book. It was entertaining, but yeah, not the love fest that most people were writing in their reviews. I actually really liked Boomer, but I agree that his behavior made him appear much younger than he probably was. I think the reason I liked him was because he gave the book a much needed dose of comedy and cheerfulness. Although, I did think Collation was hilarious too. :o)

  4. I really want to like this book. I've heard so many great reviews, but...this sounds like a book that really relies upon you connecting with the characters. That's great, I'm a character girl, but I don't think I'd like Dash or Lily.

    The way you described Dash is how I've heard others describe him. He sounds irritating. I don't really like that type of character.

    Someone else also compared Lily to Luna, and while I like Luna, I'm with you on the idea that she works as a side character but doesn't have what it takes to carry the story.

    I figure I'll try this one, but if I don't like the characters I probably won't finish it.

  5. Oh, wow. I loved this book! It made my favorite list for 2010. I liked both characters and thought they were mature in their own ways but I can easily see how you weren't able to connect with them. In case you're curious on my take, you can read my review:

  6. Let it Snow is actually by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle--not E. Lockhart. An easy mistake to make though as they are all great authors and good buddies!

    I agree with your review of Dash and Lily--both characters irritated me and I did not feel the chemistry at all!

  7. Thanks Jessica-I do that all the time with that book! I think because the first two stories I really liked and while the last one (Lauren's) was good, it wasn't my favorite out of the bunch.

  8. This was a helpful review for me. I have been debating for some time on whether I want to read this book, even though I have it. I do find myself getting somewhat frustrated with cliched characters...the guy who doesn't want a relationship, the free-spirit girl, etc.... For some reason I've kind of stayed away from this book. I think I will still read it, but perhaps knowing in advance that these elements are in here, I might be able to overlook them better.

  9. Hi GreenBeanTeenQueen, I thought your review was interesting. Actually, the first time I heard about this book was in a fanfiction that used it as inspiration. The fanfiction was amazing so I expected the same from the original book, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. The idea was creative and cute, but I agree, the authors just didn't do that great of a job executing it. I wonder how this plot would work if someone else played around with it and wrote their version of it. I enjoy these storylines where the characters communicate back and forth through some intermediary object, such as notes or in this case, a notebook. If another author wrote a similar storyline, would you be willing to read that one?


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