Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares

by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.



This book is written using the same basic idea as Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Cohn and Levithan write alternating chapters following the adventures of Dash and Lily. Cohn writes Lily, Levithan writes Dash. Their characters spend most of the book writing to each other in a red moleskine notebook. The twist: they don't know each other.

Feeling lonely at Christmas, Lily allows herself to be convinced by her brother to start a notebook featuring a series of dares and hide it at a bookstore. Self-professed "word-nerd" Dash stumbles upon it, and quickly accomplishes the first series of dares and sends Lily on a dare of his own. The dares continue back and forth as the two characters get to know each other through creativity and a red notebook.

I'll admit the other books written by Cohn and Levithan held no interest for me. However, this one caught my attention. Two strangers writing each other in a notebook found in a bookstore? How could I pass it up? It's like the bookish, teenage, low-tech version of You've Got Mail.

Both characters were well-written and, unlike some books with two narrators, I found I liked them both equally. I liked the setting and the scavenger hunt romp through New York City. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares will definitely become a book I visit again during future Christmas seasons, just like Let it Snow did a few years back.

All in all, I found this book totally enjoyable. I love the bookishness of the story and the vocabulary used (Dash's chapters are particularly full of excellent words while Lily's have a charming turn of phrase throughout). While no heavy themes are being explored, I know I'll recommend it to teen readers and probably pick it up again myself.

Perhaps I should gives Cohn and Levithan's other collaborations a second chance.

*Edit*

I just read on Rachel Cohn's Twitter that Dash and Lily's Book of Dares has been optioned for a movie. I love this idea! Find out more here, in an interview with Cohn and Levithan about the book. Also, as a bonus, there's a bunch of jokes about Justin Bieber.