Sunday, December 19, 2010

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

Dash is a bit of a Christmas curmudgeon. He is not into the spirit of the season, and appears snarly to those who encounter him around the holidays. He avoids the shopping masses that overtake his home city, New York City, by keeping his regular routine. He buys yogurts and paces the aisles of The Strand Bookstore. It is during a trip to his favorite used bookstore that he spots something unusual in the Salinger section--A red moleskin notebook peeking out from the stacks. He opens it and find a set of challenges. Dares, really. And so starts this fun, funny, heartwarming and witty Christmas tale.

Lily, of course, feels the opposite about the holiday season from Dash. She is peppy, musical, and wears lots of Christmas gear--majorette books, striped tights, a red winter hat, and a puffy holiday skirt. She bakes cookies and has tons of Christmas spirit. What Lily lacks is someone to share her joy with. She wants more than anything to be with her family, caroling and eating and giving presents. But, her family has spread for the holidays and she finds herself alone and lonely.  Until Dash takes up her challenge and starts giving her assignments in return.

This book is the sort of thing that I would have wanted to happen to me when I was a teen. Like Lily, I was pretty quirky, but I was a bit more like Dash with his sullen, petulant mannerisms. I connected deeply with these characters and wanted them to find each other--If not for true love, than for true companionship and friendship.

This book completely and entirely reminded me of JD Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. I want to ask the authors if this was the inspiration for this story. It is similar in setting, tone, and plot. It's almost like Levithan and Cohn wrote a happier, more hopeful version of Catcher. Dash is so like Holden Caulfield in his witty, inner-monologue sort of way. I loved Dash in the same way that I love Holden. I'm just happy (and I don't think that this is a spoiler) that Dash makes it out of this book without entering a mental hospital. The books weren't that similar!

Definitely, this book is a great Holiday-inspired read. I don't think that it's too Christmas-y for those Scrooges out there who are content in their loathing of the holidays. But, there's this underlying fun and recklessness about these characters that will make even the Scroogiest of Scrooges wish that they, too, could find a fun little book of dares and have the wherewithal to take up the challenge. 

**This book counts toward the Holiday Reading Challenge hosted by Nelly of All About {n}**


  1. I've heard such good things about this one! Glad you liked it.

  2. I'm really glad you liked this one! Really interesting, comparing it to Catcher in the Rye. Now that you mention it, I can see the similarities between Dash and Holden. Though I must say, I like the slightly more cheerful Dash better!

  3. I've always wanted to read this! It was sold out around Christmas and never bought it....great review.


  4. Fantastic review, glad you liked it! I'm really looking forward to reading this, gorgeous cover ;))

  5. Great review, and I'm glad to hear that you liked it so much, I've been wanting to read it soooo bad! :D
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it! :)

  6. great review, i love seasonal themed readings & the story sounds really interesting, especially since it doesn't seem to be the overall cheerful holiday story, which makes me wana read the book even more.

  7. I so want to read this book! l am glad you liked it, l have seen lots of reviews where they have loved it!



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