Pages: 260 Copyright: 2010
When Dash finds a notebook in his favorite bookstore containing a series of challenges, he can’t help but be intrigued. After he completes the given tasks, the notebook prompts him, if he’s a teenage boy, to leave his e-mail address with the cashier. Instead, he leaves a challenge in return. Thus starts a scavenger-hunt-slash-pen-pal-ism between he and Lily, whose older brother planted the notebook on her behalf. As they dare each other via the notebook to do a variety of things throughout New York City, always arranging a pickup spot for the notebook (and never meeting in person), they slowly share pieces of themselves, and find themselves in an unconventional friendship. Told in alternating POVs.
I’ve put this book on so many Top Ten Tuesday lists that I think it’s about time it gets a review. This is one of my most favorite books! It’s a totally precious gourmet romance, avoiding stereotypical pitfalls of the genre: it’s impeccably written, never cliché, and full of poignancy and thoughtfulness.
Dash and Lily are a match made in heaven. They’re polar opposites in many ways; Dash is a chronically sarcastic cynic, generally disillusioned with life (largely because of his parents’ divorce), while Lily is all sincerity and sweetness, filled with faith and optimism. But Lily brings out the believer in Dash, while Dash pushes Lily out of the comfort zone that’s holding her back and gives her confidence and bravery for adventure. I just can’t even… they’re perfect. I’ll be officiating their wedding.
And I love them individually just as much as I love them together. Dash and Lily’s voices really make the book. Dash was #3 on my list of top ten fictional loves. I adore his desert-dry sense of humor and his word-geekiness, not to mention his defensive rough exterior that isn’t really fooling anyone. He’s like a growling puppy. Lily is such a sweetheart and somebody most girls will feel a connection to; the sheltered baby of her family who dreams of excitement in the real world, and struggles to hold on to goodness in our sometimes bleak reality.
Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares is just delightful and very original. Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (also authors of the more famous Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by the way) can do no wrong by me, and this is my favorite of their work.
Pages: 346 Copyright: 2013
Josie Moraine can’t seem to stay out of the gutter. Her mother is a mercenary prostitute in a fancy brothel who resents her for “ruining her in her prime”; her father is unidentified and absent. All Josie wants is to escape the French Quarter low-lives of 1950’s New Orleans, but everyone says a girl like her will never belong anywhere else. When a recent customer of the book store where she works meets a sudden and maybe-not-natural death, Josie finds herself pulled even deeper into the muck. Still, she struggles to find a way to cut loose from her origins and become something better.
Wow wow. I loved this book! The biggest thing I have to say about it is that the author had this effortless, subtle way of making me care really and deeply about all the characters, even the minor ones. There were no big, obvious moments where I thought “wow, I now care about this character”— it just crept up on me. They were all really realistic and deeply sympathetic in their own ways. Josie was so awesome: sensible, brave, and independent, but not invincible either. I would definitely be friends with her! There were quite a few supporting characters, but each was totally unique from the rest, and each brought something different to the story.
The romance was a relatively small factor in the overall plot, but it was cutey cute cute. The story as a whole was complex and intelligent, and satisfyingly meaningful. And it flowed well, keeping me turning pages.
There was so much complexity that I’m wondering if it wasn’t a little over-ambitious, squeezing it all into one book. Not everything was quite resolved or fully played out, and there are strings that I would have liked tied up a little better. I’d say that’s my primary criticism. But better to have too much than not enough, probably.
Marvelous book. And so pretty! Not only is the cover beautiful, it has those uneven faux-hand-bound pages. Very nice effect! I have many feelings for this book! Recommend.
Every Tuesday, the site The Broke and the Bookish posts a prompt for a top-ten-style list, and book bloggers around the web respond to it on their blogs. This week the prompt is the top ten books on my list to read this summer.
1.) I seriously need to reread the original Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. The whole thing. Because I’m a screaming, manic Percy Jackson fangirl, but I’ve forgotten so much of what happens in the older books that lately I’ve been feeling like a bit of a fraud. This must end here. I’ve already got the first two on reserve.
2.) The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen. I already have it, and signed!!
3.) A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams. I read about this book on Goodreads, and it sounds really interesting.
4.) Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos. I saw this at the bookstore and read the first few pages, and fell in love. It’s about a boy who’s obsessed with Walt Whitman, and it seems like it could have a slightly Perks of Being a Wallflower-esque appeal to it.
5.) My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. Somebody told me this was my kind of book, but I haven’t gotten to it yet.
6.) Sam Cruz’s Infallible Guide to Getting Girls by Tellulah Darling. Saw this on a top ten list a few weeks ago, and it sounds really good.
7.) The Selection by Kiera Cass. I’ve been resisting reading this for a while, but the more I’ve heard about it from other bloggers, the more it’s started to sound potentially good. I might read it.
8.) Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. It’s made so many top ten lists over the months that I have to find out what the fuss is about.
9.) I kind of want to re-read Gingerbread and its two sequels by Rachel Cohn. I generally prioritize rereads below new reads, but we’ll see what happens.
10.) I debated including this, but I’ve just barely stuck my toe into Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. I’m such a fan of the musical that I feel like I should do this… but for anyone who doesn’t know, there isn’t language strong enough to describe how massive the book is. So I wouldn’t count on my whipping through it before September.
Pages: 256 Copyright:1989
Disclaimer: I read this book in the original Spanish for a class, and I thought it would be fun to review; so keep in mind that technically, this is a review of the Spanish version of the book, and I can’t necessarily vouch for your experience if you read it in English. But I imagine it’s still good. Technically it isn’t YA, but as I say on the About page, I’m the YA here. And I do what I want. Muahaha.