Monday, January 6, 2014

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

Aw, I loved this book! I don't even really remember why I pulled it off the shelf to read Christmas night but it was the perfect read for the week between Christmas and New Year's. I never read Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist but I have read a few of David Levithan's books and I'm still sort of on the fence about how I feel about them. I do love the observations he makes in the books, though, something I especially loved in this one because of what it's about.

Dash is a teen boy on Christmas break in New York City and planning to spend Christmas all by himself. One day he's at The Strand (of course! ♥) when he finds a red notebook tucked in between some books. The notebook has a letter and a challenge that sends him on a bit of a scavenger hunt around the store until he's left with instructions for further connection.

The brains behind the notebook is...Lily's brother. You thought I was going to say Lily, right? She's in on it, but it's his idea. And so the chapters alternate between Dash and Lily as they write in the notebook and exchange it and you know eventually (maybe!) meet, etc.

It's such a cute premise and really fun! Also, I loved it because while naturally the adventure is loads of fun at first it leads to some serious questions--especially for Dash--about the nature of knowing someone through writing, the ability to project or create the perfect image of someone in his mind since all he has is what's in the book, etc. And you know I love that stuff. It's also just interesting to read stories about people who do connect through the written word and all the unique doubts and feelings and expectations which accompany that.

Both characters are charming, though, with unique situations and totally loveable. The setting is fabulous, the story stretches beyond Christmas and doesn't really have to be read at Christmas at all to be enjoyed.

A few quotes:

"I am not dangerous. Only the stories are dangerous. Only the fictions we create, especially when they become expectations."

"I suspected that when something was a beginning and an ending at the same time, it could only exist in the present. And still. I wanted more than that."

Oh! And there isn't really a quote that goes with this, but there's this part where Dash is thinking about his ex-girlfriend who moved away and how they hadn't kept in touch and how writing to Lily he actually felt like she knew him better in such a short time than his ex-girlfriend ever did. And it's just interesting the difference in communications that take place with someone you know vs. someone you're getting to know via writing. Does this make sense?

Anyway, charming book!

I bought my own copy once upon a time.


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