Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares

Dash & Lily's Book of DaresTitle/Author: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn

Publisher/Year: Knopf Books for Young Readers/2010
How I Got This Book: Bought it at the author signing for it!
Why I Read This Book– I needed a non-cheesy Christmas book to read and I heard really good things about this one..and about David Levithan in general. Oh and The Strand is involved!!
Rating: 4 stars

Lily, a perky, Christmas-loving optimist, leaves a notebook filled with clues and a challenge for the finder on the shelves of The Strand after her brother and his boyfriend convince her that she needs to find a guy. Dash, our brooding, Christmas-loathing hipster, finds this notebook at his favorite bookstore–The Strand– and accepts the dare. The notebook takes them all over the New York City during the Christmas season as they accept each others dares and create new ones. They end up finding out a lot about themselves and each other but they have to wonder–is the notebook merely a projection of what they want to find or will they really find love during a lonely Christmas apart from their families?

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares definitely met my requirement as a non-cheesy Christmas pick. It was full of hilarity, wit, love and introspection. I loved the concept and I was eager to see where Lily and Dash would send each other next. Listening to David and Rachel read this and talk about their writing process enhanced my reading experience. The book alternates from Lily to Dash and David and Rachel wrote the book the way that Dash and Lily did the notebook. David would write a chapter and then send it to Rachel and then from there she would write a chapter based on what he wrote. You can just imagine them sitting there, “Oh yeah..you sent me to MACY’s..guess where I’m sending Lily next!?”

A really bad pic of me at THE STRAND!

I really liked the characters. Lily reminded me of a less annoying version of perky Rachel Berry from Glee–with a less polished look. Dash reminded me of your typical hipster boy who thinks is way too cool and has exceptional taste in everything. I liked how the notebook allowed each of them to let their guards down and drop the facade. My one gripe with the characters is that Dash just didn’t seem believable to me sometimes. It was some of the conversations he would have–particularly the one he had with Lily’s aunt at her house (or grandmother..I forget?). It just seemed a little too contrived and I couldn’t really see anybody talking like that to an adult–especially a high school boy. However, Dash was always the type of guy I wanted back in the day–intellectual, deep, hip, etc. so I’ll still love him.

I loved that they were opposites because my boyfriend (of four years) and I are totally the same way. We shouldn’t fit together–not at all. Any matchmakers or dating services would have never in a million years put us together. As Dash and Lily learn, it’s not always easy to work through those differences and doubts and sometimes it can become downright frightening to try and figure out how you really feel and what you are looking for. It’s a messy and complicated process. Looking realistically at what they knew of each other through the notebook, I’m not quite sure I believed that they were that invested in each other. It moved a little quick but I can understand how that is. It reminds me of back in high school and early college when you were getting to know a guy and you’d chat until all hours of the night on AIM and you’d analyze everything said and smile and squee when he showed interest or said something cute. You’d feel yourself falling for him in his clever answers to your questions and feel like you knew him SO well. And then, for me, I’d get to know him and he wasn’t that charming or perfect; just really good at writing the right thing. I guess I probably wasn’t either. Anyways, I digress, but their affection for each other came so out of the blue for me but I kind of just equated it to the above experiences. *spoiler-ish* I mean, they came together and realized that the other one wasn’t perfect despite what they built them to be but they were ok with that and started from there.

My final thought: If you want a non-cheesy Christmas book to simultaneously help you release some of that Christmas tension by laughing a lot and thinking about what it is to love, give this a try. It certainly isn’t a mushy romance but I think it captures some of the wading through murky waters you have to do in a courtship. Dash and Lily will be memorable characters that will have you rooting for their love immediately. It will be a story that is as sweet as all that overpriced, commercialized candy will taste on Christmas morning. Hey, I’m just channeling my inner Dash after a long day of Christmas shopping and feigning Christmas cheer as I get bumped around by crazy Christmas shoppers and cranky inhabitants of the long lines.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Yay! I have this book waiting for me once finals are over. I can't wait to read it. Your review made me even more excited!

  2. Kat Werner says:

    I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't high literature, and I did have some problems with Dash as well, but the adventure was really fun. Plus, I relate to Lily on such a level that it is really scary.

    Also, we are supposed to stop over thinking what guys say once we are out of our teens? Yikes! lol

  3. The1stdaughter says:

    Fabulous review! Sometimes I wish I could mash other peoples reviews into mine because after I read yours I realized all the other things I loved and left out. Ahhh! But no worries, won't be doing that any time soon. Will say that I absolutely adored the concept of passing the book back and forth between the writers like you mentioned. It would be almost like you were actually the characters in the books. Totally makes me want to write a book with someone else! Hehe

    Again, fantastic review! And yeah, I really don't know what you're talking about with that picture there, it's fabulous!

  4. mummazappa says:

    I really want to read this, I found a copy in one of my fave bookstores the other day but didn't buy it for myself (I was doing xmas shopping and strictly forbade myself not to buy anything for myself) and I'm really regretting it now. I might have to just take a wander down there again and pick it up. A xmas pressie to myself πŸ™‚

  5. I have this one coming to me from Amazon. I love David Levithan and will read anything that he writes. And I'm hoping this one won't let me down (N&N was awesome, the other one…*headsmack* can't remember now, disappointed me). I have heard nothing but outrageously great reviews. And I love that it has The Strand in it. I wish I lived in NYC just so I could visit the bookstore often.

  6. Maybe I should read this before Christmas? I was planning on reading it right after but I think I might bump it up on the list. I loved your review, and that pic is super cute!!

  7. I think it's a cute picture!! Good review πŸ™‚

  8. Dude. You look hot in that pic, shut your pie hole. Also: I used to live a few blocks from The Strand. It was HEAVEN. Oh, and back to the point: I'm reading Dash & Lily over Xmas. Can't wait!

  9. First of all, I want to live in the Strand, and I think we should go while we're in NYC for BEA haha it's one of the reasons I loved going to NYC while I was growing up. Oh, and I second what Anna said. You look hotter than the books, and that's saying something. K.

    Moving on…great review of this one! I'm dying to get my paws on this one. It sounds so so so fun πŸ™‚

  10. This book is on my pile, along with their second (Naomi & Ely's No-Kiss List)! I read Nick & Norah shortly after it came out and LOVED it, and when I heard that this one was out and involved the Strand (aka, my heaven), I just had to buy it! Glad to hear it's good!

    PS – I love that picture! You look really cute! πŸ™‚

  11. Avid Reader says:

    It's on my TBR and I can't wait to read it. I have a similar picture of me in The Strand. You know you're a book nerd when you think a book store is photo worthy (that's a compliment!).

  12. Hahah! I didn't even realize that we both posted this today until you said something. Great review and I can't wait for the movie! πŸ™‚

  13. I loved this book. I think you did a better job articulating your like for it than I did! LOL! It's definitely a book I'll be buying soon so I can re-read it.

  14. I just posted my review of this today. How funny that you didn't quite believe Dash! Lily was the mildly unrealistic one for me. That scene with Dash and Ida was one of my favorites! I loved the back and forth with the notebook too. It was a great, fun holiday read.

  15. I just came across your blog and I'm glad I did because this is a fantastic review! I've been considering adding this to my TBR pile, but I wasn't sure it would be my kind of thing…but it definitely sounds like it is! I'll look forward to it!

  16. Sarah Laurence says:

    Great review! I had a similar reaction to this book and Dash. I have recommended it to others as a good holiday gift for young adults.

  17. Alice Dwyer says:

    I'm reading it now and I love it. I just adore Dash. It is definitely getting me in the Christmas spirit.

  18. Looks great! This one was feautured on my top 10 fav. covers of 2010! I just think it's so cute! O.o
    Please check out my blog, it would mean alot πŸ™‚

  19. I’m reading this right now, and so far, I’m not sure what to think. πŸ™


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