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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

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

Grade: 3.8 / 4 stars out of 5
When Dash finds a Moleskine journal full of dares, he thinks why not. And thus begins Dash and Lily’s book of dares—who can out dare the other? Is a movie ticket to see “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” for someone who’s full of holiday cheer worst than having to run Santa’s warm, hairy, sweaty beer bully in front of a line of children? But more importantly is the person behind the dares as great as he or she sounds on paper?
David Levithan and Rachel Cohn is a powerhouse team who are best known for the novel, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist having been turned into a movie. Levithan wrote Dash’s chapters while Cohn wrote Lily’s. One can easily tell.

Here is my impression while reading the novel: Dash, as horrible as it sounds, has a monotone voice in my mind. Not blah boring, but like Ben Stein’s monotone humor. It’s a very concise humor that hits home. The scene where Dash is forced to retrieve the notebook from Santa’s belly cracked me up. So much. Oh God, I’m giggling behind the screen right home recalling the “Ho, ho, ho” Santa screamed when some of his belly hair was ripped. Dash is very intellectually and does not shy away from ‘big’ words. He is part cynical, part realist, but I think deep down is the type to believe in love. (Of course, don’t we all.)

Lily is all exclamation points: !!!! She talks LOUDER with more vibrancy and overall just a lot less sane compared to Dash. She is an individual, a character, an ups-and-downs type of girl with hardly any room for the middle ground. But compared to her family, Lily is normal. One of things that had me tilting my head was Lily’s family. They were just so out there (some in outer space) that I felt that many of the relatives were caricatures. Just somewhat completely exaggerate characters meant to amuse the readers with their outlandish jobs, actions, and personalities.

I love Dash’s character that much is clear. (I think it’s because he’s a fellow book lover whose wish is own the entire Oxford Dictionary collection.) Lily’s on the other hand is on the fence; it can go either way. I love her fluidity and the way she takes action head-on, but then I just don’t like Cohn’s style of writing: her choice of diction, when she uses certain punctuation marks, her love of adjectives. Because this novel has a heavy part where it mainly focuses on the two characters’ writing their thoughts and feelings it only emphasizes my likes and dislikes of the two.

In all I do like Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares as a merged novel that delves into a much more the spiritual and mental stability than I thought it would. But I just find some scenes to be too much and just an implosion/explosive of words.

Cover: B+
Source: Knopf
Published: 26 October 2010; hardcover

David and Rachel are on tour:
Monday, November 29 at 6:00 PM
Book Court
163 Court St
Brooklyn, New York 11201
Joined by Matt de la Peña & E. Lockhart

Tuesday, November 30 at 7:00 PM
Harleysville Books
672 Main St
Harleysville, PA 19438-1679

Thursday, December 2 at 6:30 PM
Barnes & Noble (Cherry Hill, NJ)
911 Haddonfield Road
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
Joined by Matt de la Peña

Saturday, December 4 at 2:00 PM
Barnes & Noble (Carle Place, NY)
Country Glen Center
91 Old Country Road, Carle Place, NY 11514
Joined by Matt de la Peña

Friday, December 10 at 7:00 PM
Books & Greetings
271 Livingston St # G
Northvale, NJ 07647-1915
(201) 784-2665

Thursday, December 16 at 7:00 PM
R. J. Julia Booksellers
768 Boston Post Rd
Madison, CT 06443-3047
Joined by Matt de la Peña


  1. I've seen this book and have been wanting to read it. Thanks for the review.

  2. I've been absolutely dying to read this book...purely based on the cover. I'm glad to see a really well thought out review of it. Thank you! :)

  3. Nice review- I'm dying to read this. I didn't realize Rachel and David each wrote Dash and Lily. Interesting!

  4. This actually sounds quite good. I've never read anything by either author, but I'm thinking I should. I might just start with this one!