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

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Authors: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Released: October 26 2010
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★

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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.

At the urge of her lucky-in-love brother, sixteen-year-old Lily has left a red notebook full of dares on her favourite bookshop shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept.

Curious, snarky Dash isn't one to back down from a challenge - and the Book of Dares is the perfect thing to keep him occupied this Christmas.

As they send each other on a snowbound scavenger hunt across Manhattan, they're falling for each other on paper. But finding out if their real selves share their on-page chemistry could be their biggest dare yet.
Holiday times means holiday-themed books, right? Right. I've had Dash & Lily sitting on my shelves for the longest time because it was one of those random books I got in a 3 for £5 deal without looking at what it was about. Once I read that the book takes place at Christmas, it got slammed to the top of my December TBR, because there is literally no better way to put me in the festive spirit, than to read something festive and fluffy. And trust me, I'm always in the mood for some good old fluff.

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares is the story of Dash, a snarky guy who has been left alone for the holidays, and Lily, a girl who is stuck at home with her brother and his new boyfriend with not much to do. As a way of giving her something to do, Lily's brother has her compose a notebook full of dares and they leave it on a shelf in a bookshop, where Dash finds it. Although this book is short, Dash & Lily felt pretty light and breezy to me, even though there is a lot going on in such a short amount of time. I was always interested in knowing where the notebook would take Dash and Lily next, what sort of shenanigans they would get up to on the next dare, and also what things they had written to each other at every location. There was never a moment where I felt like things were going too fast or too slow, everything went just smoothly enough for my liking. After all, fluff of this kind doesn't have to make your heart race, it has to make you feel at comfort, but at the same time hoping that everything doesn't fall apart. That's the way I felt with Dash & Lily, I had a pretty cosy reading experience, but I was totally engrossed in the characters' lives. I wanted their notebook adventures to continue, and I also wanted them to meet up for real, but at the same time I didn't want things to go horribly wrong for them. My only little problem is that I didn't think the ending was satisfying enough. I would have liked to have seen more of what goes on with Dash and Lily, but the book said nope and just ended. Some more tying up would have been nicer for me.

Dash & Lily is told in a dual POV, from both Dash and Lily's perspectives. Sometimes I have an issue with dual POV books because if it's not made clear who the narrator is, I can get mixed up. Thankfully, that wasn't the case here because I knew exactly who was narrating, and it's all down the fact that Dash and Lily have very different voices, mainly because of the fact that Dash uses the most pretentiously worded sentences I've ever read, and Lily sounds more natural. It took me a little while to get used to Dash because when I first started reading his first chapter my immediate reaction was "who the hell talks like this?". He definitely came off as being pretentious at first, but I soon warmed up to him and got used to the way he was written, because all the weird wording was toned down a bit. Out of the two main characters, I think I liked Lily more, because I felt like I could relate to her more, and not just in the whole never had a boyfriend, never been kissed, doesn't really have many friends to see during the holidays way. I tend to be more drawn to the quirky characters, but I always have this fear that they'll end up being a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. This definitely isn't the case with Lily. She feels so much more real and developed than a MPDG, and I loved being able to know about her past and what her thoughts and feelings were.

I'm a bit of a sucker for books that take place in big cities, and Dash & Lily is no exception to that soft spot. The book takes place in New York City, which really does contribute to the way the events are carried out. Something like this couldn't possibly take place in a smaller town, or even one of those kinds of towns where everybody knows each other. I liked being able to see the different parts of the city and imagine how certain parts of the city would look (which is kind of an experience for me because I've never been to New York and have only seen it on TV and in films), and at times it felt like I was exploring different parts of the city for myself, even though Dash and Lily were very familiar with it. I also liked how the book is set during Christmastime because it made things just that little bit more sweeter, and at times made getting to the notebook all that more challenging due to the sheer amount of people that are around. These two must have been really interested in each other to brave those crowds, because I know I definitely wouldn't be able to do it. Especially not in the few days before Christmas.

One vibe that I got from Dash & Lily is that it felt a little bit like You've Got Mail to me. The basic premise is kind of similar with them exchanging messages through a notebook that they hide throughout NYC, instead of having an anonymous relationship online and being business rivals. That's pretty much the only YGM vibes that I got though because I haven't actually seen that movie. But always, I loved the romance in the book because it wasn't full-on romance, and instead was very light since Dash and Lily are pretty much strangers for most of the book. I wasn't expecting sparks to be flying all over the place, or any tingly feelings to be constantly felt whenever somebody smiled, and I didn't get those, which I'm glad about. Because if I did, it probably would have ruined the book for me. Since I kind of burnt myself out on contemporary romance during the summer, this kind of love story was just right for me.

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares was the perfect book for me to start the holidays with; it was light, cute, and not too heavy, with likeable characters and a story that I was easily engrossed in. I managed to whirl through this book, and will definitely be re-reading it every year from now on.

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