David Levithan and Rachel Cohn are quickly becoming some of my favourite authors. I read Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist relatively recently and really enjoyed it, and picked up Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares for the Christmas Booktubeathon (a book with red and green on the cover) and boy, am I glad I did!
There’s something about the way that Levithan and Cohn construct their characters relationships, so that the book is equally just about Lily, just about Dash, and just about the two as an entity. There wasn’t a perspective that I liked more than the other, because both sides were engaging and heartwarming to the point of making me a giggling mess. I was so surprised to read that the authors didn’t plan out every single detail and circumstance. They literally just passed chapters back and forth as if they were Dash and Lily themselves. I admire that style of writing, no plan. Simply go.
I loved how there were certain things that linked Dash and Lily together, one of them would mention something they did, and then it would pop up in the next character’s chapter. A little bit of dramatic irony never hurt any one! What I also loved was that the family and friends of Dash and Lily aren’t explained fully – yeah, their backstories crop up, but we’re quite a way into the story and Boomer shows up and he’s a main character! It makes it seem as if you’re really looking into someone’s life.
Dash and Lily’s story got progressively less about the book and more about the people. There was some amazing character development in this book…perhaps not development in Dash’s case, but they both ‘found’ themselves. You could see that they were both concerned with the way they were presented on paper versus ‘real life’, which added an interesting dynamic of self-discovery that you don’t often see talked about in YA. The book was more than just two kids finding romance, it was more about them realizing that they were unique and that was okay. I really appreciated the profound way they talked about ‘the girl/boy in your head’, it was an interesting concept that got me thinking.
Dash’s wordiness, and Lily’s endless family connections, how every secondary character had a purpose, and the unique settings around New York really made me fall in love with this book. There was also a little cameo reference to Nick and Norah, and you know I love a good cameo!
Overall, I would give Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares four stars, because I really did enjoy the story, but I was disappointed with the ending. The build up was good, but then it cut out about two chapters before I wanted it to! I will definitely be picking up Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, and any subsequent co-written works!