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.
Obviously this gets a squee for romantic excellence.
Lyrical award, just because the writing itself is so snappy.