16-year-old Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on her favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. Dash, in a bad mood during the holidays, happens to be the first guy to pick up the notebook and rise to its challenges.
What follows is a whirlwind romance as Dash and Lily trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations all across New York City. But can their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions, or will their scavenger hunt end in a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?
Co-written by Rachel Cohn (GINGERBREAD) and David Levithan, co-author of WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON with John Green (THE FAULT IN OUR STARS), DASH & LILY’S BOOK OF DARES is a love story that will have readers scouring bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.
I first read Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares while I was in high school and I remember loving it the first time I read it but I didn’t remember the details enough to just dive into the sequel. So I decided it was time for a reread and I’m so glad I did because I loved it just as much as I remembered.
Told in alternating POVs between Dash and Lily, this is a cute holiday romance filled with amazing characters and the perfect amount of hilarity. I read the whole book in a day because I couldn’t put it down. It was that good.
The story began with Dash discovering a red notebook in The Strand (my favorite bookstore) that leads him on this adventure that’s presumably started by Lily, but actually it was her brother Langston’s idea. Lily absolutely loves Christmas but this year she feels utterly abandoned. Her parents went to Fiji to celebrate their 20th anniversary, her grandfather went to Florida to propose to his girlfriend, and Langston was totally wrapped up in his new boyfriend. Therefore Langston decided it was time Lily found a love of her own, hence the notebook.
Through the notebook Lily and Dash give each other dares while also sharing some of their best and worst Christmas memories. Along the way they enlist their friends and families to help them as they try to discover if they can really have a relationship off the pages of the notebook or if the person they thought they knew is nothing like how they really are in person.
I’m always surprised by how much I love this novel because although I’ve liked Rachel Cohn’s books I could never get into David Levithan’s writing. Even one of the other novels they wrote together, Naomi & Ely’s No Kiss List, irritated me to no end and I never finished it. Somehow though Dash and Lily really works for me and I could see myself reading this novel every year during the holidays. Definitely give it a read if you haven’t already.
“I mean, what if love isn’t a yes-or-no question? It’s not either you’re in love or you’re not. I mean, aren’t there different levels? And maybe these things, like words and expectations and whatever, don’t go on top of the love. Maybe it’s like a map, and they all have their own place, and then when you see it for the sky—whoa.”