Title: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
Authors: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf, 2010
Where I got it: I received a SIGNED copy from my awesome Secret Santa, Em of Love YA Lit!
Dash is not one for Christmas. He'd much rather spend his vacation wandering around the stacks in the Strand, his favorite bookstore, than out reveling in the joys of the season. He doesn't even have his parents around (through some ingenius misleading on his part). So when he finds a red Moleskin notebook tucked among the volumes, of course he's game to the dares that go with it. He's intrigued. Besides, what else does he have to do?
Lily love Christmas. She loves everything about it: the caroling, the food, the baking, the presents, the songs and the wardrobe. That's why she is not so pleased when her parents end up spending the holiday in Fiji and disrupting the holiday traditions she loves so dearly. But she has one red Moleskin, a brother's plan to keep her busy, and someone who answers the dare, unexpectedly with one of his own.
In the days before Christmas leading up to New Year's, Dash and Lily find themselves leading each other all over the island of Manhattan on one dare after another that not only force them to discover new things about each other, but about themselves as well.
After all the hype surrounding Dash and Lily, I was really looking forward to reading this as a Christmasy read to get me in the spirit. Unfortunately, because this was the mindset in which I approached it, I was disappointed. It didn't seem like a Christmasy book to me, despite Lily's over-the-top love for the holiday. It's not that it wasn't good, I just set myself up for something that this book wasn't.
I liked all of the characters well enough, though I found Lily to be irritating at times. Some people seemed a little unbelievable, but I could overlook that fact in order to allow myself to enjoy the story and where it was going. Boomer is probably my favorite character—he was always so excited and positive, and I thought all of his little personality quirks were fantastic, especially following mommy bloggers just to see their cattiness. And I also really liked Sofia, Dash's ex. She had this quiet wisdom that didn't seem off-putting, and I like that.
I enjoyed the pseudo-tour of NYC, even though I don't particularly like the city. It was a good way to get to see it without actually having to be there, plus I had two expert guides. And the tasks Dash and Lily set up for each other? Outstanding. I wish I had half the imagination Levithan and Cohn have. It must have been great fun to pass the manuscript back and forth to each other, not knowing what to expect next (this is information I get from Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner, by the way).
As for the romance, it was very sweet and happy. This is one of those instances where the two lovebirds aren't madly attracted to each other for no reason; they truly like the other for their beliefs and thoughts and personalities and their ability to share them with one another. Though they get to know each other through the notebook, they have a relationship that is more real than many I see in YA nowadays.
Not to mention most of it was hilarious. I especially liked Dash's sections (the chapters alternate between Dash and Lily's narration). Also, not that I'm one to talk about this too much, but I love this cover. A lot.
Don't expect a heartwarming Christmas story when you pick this up, because you'll be disappointed if that's what you're anticipating. But if you just want a fun book set during the holidays that tells a funny and cute story about two teens falling for each other through clues they leave for each other all over Manhattan, this is it.