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}**