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

3 Dec

“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.”

Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

I actually read this book on Christmas Eve last year but I didn’t get chance to review it. It is such a fun and romantic Christmas read though that I had to review it this year. Dash and Lily is co-written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, authors of hits that include Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist which has been made into a film. This is the first of their novels that I’ve read but I love the way their writing partnership works.

The story is told from the alternating perspectives of the two main characters. Both tell their tale in the first person and both are immediately very real and vibrant characters that jump off the page. They are also complete opposites, something which is brought out immediately in their feelings towards the festive season; Dash hates Christmas, dismissing its commercialism, the crowds and schmaltz. Lily on the other hand loves it so much so that she’s set up her own carol group

Given their differences and the huge city they live in, Dash and Lily might never have met had it not been for the red notebook left in their favourite bookshop (the famous Strand Bookstore). The story starts on December 21st and runs through to New Years Eve with Dash and Lily taking an entertaining romp through New York city connected (at least initially) only by the red notebook where they construct an elaborate treasure hunt leaving clues for each other, swapping notes and daring each other into all manner of often humorous escapades across the city (Dash’s trip to Macy’s being one of my favourite parts).

Aided by a lovely cast of family and friends both young and old, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares is a sweet offbeat romantic comedy. I especially loved Lily’s wealthy Great-aunt Ida with her pearls of wisdom. But as much as this is a book about a potential romance between two New York teenagers it is also a book about books, words and language and I loved the way they were worked into the story which left me wanting to wander the aisles of the Strand bookstore again as soon as possible!

I love books and stories that have an element of serendipity or fate to them and Dash and Lily has this in buckets. It’s also set in my favourite city so there’s a lot to love about it for me. This is a young adult book but I’d recommend it to readers and book lovers of all ages looking for a quick quirky and above all romantic Christmas read and I hope to read more by both authors in the future.


You can find out more about David Levithan and his books at:

You can find out more about Rachel Cohn and her books at:

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares is available in paperback (link goes to

3 Responses to “Book review: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan”

  1. Jenni 3rd December 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    This book sounds lovely, I shall definitely look out for it.

  2. rea 4th December 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    I like the sound of this one a great review xx

  3. Amanda 6th December 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by Jenni and Rea – it is a lovely read. Let me know what you think if you do read it.

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