Authors: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Release date: 26th October 2010 US
Genre: Romantic Comedy / Contemporary YA Fiction
Target audience: 12+
US Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Summary from Goodreads:
“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 favourite 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?
Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares is a happy, feel-good novel full of Christmas cheer, humour and the sweet tender taste of possibilities. I read it in one go, beginning to end, and loved every second of it.
Dash is sixteen and has manoeuvred his parents into letting him spend Christmas alone. He finds Lily’s red notebook nestled beside one of his favourite authors on the shelves of a New York bookstore and being an inquisitive literary type, he takes up the first challenge.
Lily is sweet sixteen. She has never been kiss. Worse, she has never had a day’s rebellion in her life. She is the ultimate goodie-two-shoes and always sticks to her curfew, adores every Christmas tradition and really should be employed by Santa as his head elf. But she writes in the notebook and when she gets a response from Dash the story of their very different but equally interesting lives in the Big Apple begins to unfold.
The narrative voices are distinct and I loved them both equally. At first Dash seems like a bit of a pompous over-inflated dictionary on legs but I soon got through that verbose flamboyancy, I developed a genuine affection for the guy. Of course, as a reader and lover of words I could relate to Dash. But I don’t share his cynicism about Christmas. I would never revel in spending it alone. My company is really not all that entertaining to me. Christmas is all about family.
Lily is an innocent-if-a-little-bizarre-but-completely-adorable-character. I love her Christmas wonderment and the fact that it has never lost its magic for her. I think if given the chance most people would love to keep the childlike belief in Christmas magic alive. I also love that she is one of those people who is genuinely nice. Yes, she hasn’t seen much of the world but still her heart is pure gold.
This novel is every bit the romantic comedy. The: will they? Won’t they? story. Are they too different to be right for each other? Is there even such a thing as being right for someone? Then there is the absolute laugh out loud moments: the crazy expressions that they both use, Boomer and his general boomonicness and the slapstick routines. I couldn’t fail but to love it. Considering my favourite film is You’ve Got Mail, I can’t help but feel this is the perfect Christmas read for me. New York just stepped off the page and waltzed into my living room.
To love this book as much as me, I think you need to be a hopeless romantic, a believer in the Christmas spirit and be in the mood for a novel that will leave you feeling happy, elated and ready to don your Christmas antlers. I think I may have found a book that I have to read every Christmas. It was just so festive and sweet!