I feel like a romance cliché: I fell in love with this book at first sight and never fell out. This is ironic, since Dash & Lily's Book of Dares is pretty much dedicated to being anti-cliché when it comes to romance.
I recently had a conversation with one of my students, a teenage boy who just broke up with his girlfriend and was feeling bad about it. He said, "Everybody's a stranger, and always will be." This seemed to frighten him. I told him I was going to loan him Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. "It's all about that," I said. "But it still manages to have a happy ending."
As our story opens, it's Christmas time in the Big Apple, and Dash has fooled each of his divorced parents into thinking he's with the other one so he can spend Christmas in surly Grinch-like solitude. Well, perhaps not solitude, though he's definitely a young Grinch in the making: Dash discovers a red notebook incongruously shelved in a grand used bookstore called the Strand...
This was a really cute book. I thought that the idea of the red notebook was interesting and a bit whimsical, and I really liked the whole concept of it. And, of course, it made me want to go poking around in used book stores.
I really liked Dash. He was a smartass who was a bit of a loner and a grump, though he was also a good guy with a handful of close friends who seemed to really think highly of him. Lily started out a little too optimistic sugar-and-spice for me, but I liked the character contrast to Dash that she presented. She was also quirky and fun, and she grew on me.
The plot is driven by the passing around of the red notebook and the challenges that Dash and Lily present to one another, which are fun and funny. I liked the pacing of the book - it reads pretty quickly. I finished it in one sitting without getting bored or frustrated with it. It's a pretty light and enjoyable read.
It takes place during the winter holiday season...
This didn't end as well as it started. It had a cute cover and a cute premise, but the characters stopped being cute along the way.
Starting with Dash finding Lily's notebook at the Strand, the two quickly fall into back and forth adventures, learning about each other along the way. I found that Lily was immature, not showing any growth at all throughout the book, but instead regressing to her childhood nickname of `Shrilly.' Dash, while completely pretentious and unrealistic, was more interesting, but his brand of snark got tiresome after a while. Still, as the two set off on their dares, I enjoyed their interactions through the notebook, curious as to what they'd be doing next.
Unfortunately, their dares did come to an end. Once they met, I felt that their charm, as well as that of the entire book, was gone. I found myself skimming through the remainder of the book, not seeing any chemistry between the real Dash and Lily. The book became one of those where I...
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