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Friday, May 27, 2011

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

Publisher: Random Books
Published: October 26, 2010
Pages: 272
Source: For Review from Random Books (Thank you!)
Rating: 4 Stars - I Loved It!

“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.” 

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times 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? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

In short: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a hilarious and delightfully random read.
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares was a very quick read, both in terms of page numbers and how quickly the plot and dialogue flowed. It follows Dash and Lily, strangers turned potential love interests, as they pass a red notebook filled with challenges back and forth at Christmastime. The chapters alternate points of view between Dash and Lily, written by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, respectively.

The high point of this book for me was definitely the humour. The characters end up in various hilarious and random situations that must have involved a lot of creativity on the part of the authors. The dialogue was also incredibly sharp and witty. Even small details, easily overlooked by someone reading too quickly, like movie titles and website comment names, were thoughtfully created and wholly hilarious.

Some people may be turned off by the extreme caricatures that are Dash and Lily but I found I was able to enjoy them for what they were. That is to say, they were not realistic personalities. Dash was excessively verbose and Lily was very Luna Lovegood-esque. However, I thought their personalities worked for this type of novel. A ridiculous, silly plot requires ridiculous, silly characters to match.

I also loved how this book was like a love letter to New York. During the time that the notebook was being passed back and forth, Dash and Lily visit numerous places that I made sure to try and fit in during my recent trip to New York. From Max Brenner, the famous chocolate shop where I bought a chocolate syringe (exactly as it sounds: a syringe filled with liquid chocolate), to the Make-Your-Own-Muppet Department at FAO Schwarz, the famous toy store. And of course, I just had to visit The Strand, the famous book store which boasts 18 miles of books, and was exactly as described in the book, complete with the bookish hipsters who work there.

My one major complaint that I had was the timing of events with some of the alternating chapters. During some sections of the book, Dash's chapter would occur on a certain day, while the following Lily chapter would occur the day prior, making the sequence of events a bit confusing. I would have preferred the chapters to flow chronologically.

Overall, I enjoyed myself immensely while reading Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. It is the first of the Rachel Cohn and David Levithan's collaborations that I've read (the others being Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Naomi & Eli's No Kiss List). I definitely plan on reading more from these authors.

Other Reviews:
Brush Up On Your Reading
The Slowest Bookworm
Stalking the Bookshelves

Stalk the Authors (not for serious):
Rachel Cohn's Website
Rachel Cohn's Twitter
David Levithan's Website
David Levithan's Goodreads


  1. This was my first Cohn + Levithan book too and I really, really enjoyed it. Dash and Lily are two very weird but likeable characters. I agree with you on the timing of the events. It could be really confusing at first. Anyway, great review!

  2. I hadn't ever really thought to read this one, because I figured it would be your typical love story. Now I can't wait to try this one out! It sounds like a super cute read, and a lot of fun too. That's so cool how you got to visit the places in the book when you traveled to New York! And chocolate syringe? So cool! Awesome review Aylee!

  3. I have this one sitting on myshelf and I keep telling myself I wanna read it because like you said I've heard it's really funny. So I guess I should move it up on my list to read. Sounds like you had a fun trip to New york. That's one place I would love to visit someday.

  4. I've read Naomi & Eli's No Kiss List and saw the Nick and Norah movie--both are super cute! The characters are quirky and it makes them fun.
    I just looked up The Strand. HOLY! I could spend hours in there!

  5. This one sort of lost me along the way but, holy hell, parts of it had me shaking from laughter -- like that bit with Santa! My sides actually started hurting because the laughing wouldn't stop.

  6. Good to see you back! How do you think this compared to Nick and Norah? As good, better, or not as good?

  7. A couple of months ago I won this one from YA Bibliophile and I've so been looking forward to reading it - I just need to find a spot to squeeze it in! - and I loved your review, it got me all pumped up for it.


  8. I've added this one to my wishlist - I know it's available in the library but just have to find the time to read it - after seeing many great reviews for it. It's so cool that you visited many of the same places that the book mentions and found the descriptions to match it perfectly.

  9. I've read mixed reviews on this one .. I'm glad you liked it, I might give it a try soon.
    Thanks for the great review Aylee ;)

  10. Well, I do like sharp and witty! :) However, the timing of events would probably bother me a little, too. I might give this a try though because it sounds like such a fun read. Great review!

  11. I've heard great things about this one, and I'm definitely intrigued. I definitely want to read it! Fab review, Aylee! :)

  12. I have heard a lot of good things about this one. I might have to give it a read. :0)

  13. Really fantastic review Aylee! It's so good to know that the characters are a bit over-the-top in an intentional way going in, that way I won't take them too seriously and get frustrated with their behavior. I like to know things like that ahead of time:) I'm a huge fan of humor, so I need to give this book a try!

  14. Chel: Weird but likeable, definitely. I think I read a couple of reviews where the reviewers just couldn't get past how weird the characters were and didn't like them.

    T.B.: I wouldn't say it was your typical love story. Though it did have some very wonderful insight on love and romance, mainly during the Dash chapters. Chocolate syringe=to die for. Mmm.

    AngelicNytmare: You should definitely go to New York someday. It's an expensive trip but well worth it if you can swing it. I'm going to do a post sometime reviewing all the musicals I saw while I was there.

    Laura: Yes, I adored the quirkiness of the characters! They truly were unlike any characters I had ever read. And yeah, I spent several hours there and a good amount of cash.

    Stephanie: That part was hilarious! Ingenious. I have to say, I generally found Dash's chapters (written by David Levithan) to be more funny than Lily's (written by Rachel Cohn).

    Allison: I've only seen Nick & Norah, the movie, not read the book. But it was a similar sort of concept, I thought. Two quirky characters living in New York, alternating viewpoints, falling in love after some odd and random events.

    Alex: I hope you enjoy it! It's tough finding time for all the books we want to read, isn't it?

    Zahida: I was so impressed by the descriptions of the various localities in New York and how well they matched! It was so fun mimicking Dash and Lily's adventures while I was there.

    Elodie: Yeah, I wouldn't say this book is for everyone, that's for sure. I know some people might be turned off by the strangeness of the plot and characters.

    Jessica: It was a fun read, despite the odd choice behind the sequence of events. I hope you enjoy it!

    Melissa: Thanks! I hope you enjoy it and are not let down by the positive reviews.

    Tracy: Give it a try. If you don't like it, then it's super short anyway so I don't think it would be too much of a waste of time.

    Jenny: Heh, glad I could let you in on that fact then! At times, I did become frustrated with some actions/dialogues of the character, but then I would just remind myself not to take it so seriously. It's supposed to be humourous!

  15. I haven't read either authors books before. But this one does sound good! I love the idea of Make-Your-Own-Muppet! I think I went to an FAO Schwartz once in Chicago. Great review!

  16. I'm glad you enjoyed Dash and Lily. I loved it too. It was a really fun read!

    Thanks for putting my giveaway in your sidebar :-D

  17. Julie: Yeah, I really want to make my own muppet (because I've always adored Kermit) but the lineup was super long so we decided to skip it.

    The Slowest Bookworm: Super fun read! And yeah, no problem :)

  18. I'm a fan of caricatures so I think I can take on these two. You're right, those type of characters are needed for satirical story lines. What makes me reluctant is that the chapters aren't chronological.

  19. Missie: Tis not too bad. Only a few of the chapters are not chronological. I just thought it was rather odd.

  20. Chronological is definitely a better way for story flow although it can be hard when following multiple characters....

  21. For sure. Especially after reading about the way the authors supposedly wrote the book (one chapter at a time, emailing the latest chapter written back and forth to each other, seemingly no consideration for planning out the events ahead of time).

  22. Oh this book sounds so adorable! I loved their first book, so I think I'd enjoy this one too.

  23. It really was adorable. I've seen the movie of their first book but have yet to read it. I know I'm definitely going to want to check out another of their collaborations sometime.