From the authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, who co-wrote Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, comes another novel, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares. The story is split between two points of view. Dash is snarky, sarcastic, and highly intelligent with a love of literature. He comes from a wealthy, divorced family and he decides to be an orphan for the holidays by telling his mother he was spending them with his father and vice versa. He loathes the holidays and his distaste for people only intensifies at this time; he believes people are sheep, always following a line or a crowd and are all the same. Lily comes from wealth as well, but a large, almost ubiquitous, loving family to whom she is very close to. She is awkward, sweet, and rather shy at first, with an unwavering love for Christmas time in the city. The two couldn’t seem more different. But, a red Moleskine notebook that is planted by Lily’s brother and his boyfriend in a bookstore known as the Strand finds its way to Dash. The minute he reads the cover’s message, “Do you dare?”, he finds himself running around the Strand, piecing together clues to figure out who the owner of this book is. The events that follow set the story in motion, creating a whirlwind romance that modern day fairytales are made of.
What starts as a way for a brother to help his sister find love turns into a journey of self-discovery, full of hilarious real-life experiences to which any reader can relate to. The story involves two teens running around New York City during Christmas time following challenges/dares left behind in a red Moleskine notebook that also sends the reader on an adventure with Dash and Lily. With references to actual places like Madame Tussauds, the Strand, and more, readers can envision each step the characters take. Cohn and Levithan (who mainly communicated by email to write this novel) create the female and male voices respectively, giving each their own unique, lovable personalities, with interesting events that keep the pages turning. Dash and Lily’s leaves the same impression as Nick and Nora’s with its charm and quirkiness that cannot be found elsewhere. This novel is fantastic. I may be a bit biased because it is one of my favorites; however, it contrasts with the typical young adult novels of today. It stands out among the slew of books dedicated to supernatural storylines that have taken over and been revamped (pun intended) to have crazy new twists and spins that are, let’s face it, beating a dead horse. Cohn and Levithan have a way with words that is incomparable and wickedly brilliant.