Book review of “Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares”

Jessica M. Upchurch, Entertainment Reviewer
March 2, 2011
Filed under Opinion, Reviews

As a fan of the teen novel “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” written by Rachel Cohn and David Leviathan, I was thrilled to see that this duo wrote another novel titled “Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares” (published by Alfred A. Knopf).

This novel is set in New York during the holidays (Christmas might be over, but who doesn’t love a little holiday cheer in the middle of academic havoc).

The chapters switch points of view between the main characters. We are immediately introduced to Dash, a funny, sarcastic personality who is anti-everything – anti-mainstream, anti-Christmas, anti-people for the most part. Immediately, he stumbles across a notebook in a used book store challenging whoever finds it to play along. Dash, being the intelligent hipster that he is, jumps in.

Lily, the instigator of the challenges, is quite the opposite of our brooding male protagonist; she loves Christmas and animals and wishes good-will toward everyone. As the odd-girl out, she has a very distinct voice from Dash, which livens the book and creates two strong forces that keep the plot moving and the reader interested.

Many times it seems that in a novel featuring the thoughts of more than one character, the voices begin to mesh together and the reader is generally reading the same voice. In “Dash & Lily,” the authors do a wonderful job of keeping these individuals separate, and along the same vein, these characters are very dissimilar from those in “Nick & Norah.” I picked up the novel thinking these characters would probably be the same, Dash being an extension of Nick and Lily being one of Norah, but they are all really different people, which speaks to the genius of Cohn and Leviathan.

However, though the adventures are fun (who doesn’t love a run-in with a handsymall Santa Claus),this book is really just a “Nick & Norah’s” with a literary focus instead of musical. The concept is neat, but when you get down to it, what you have is two teenagers, unsupervised, running around New York and falling in love under the weirdest circumstances.

Any reader who is new to this writing duo would really enjoy this novel, as it is a very entertaining read. However, if you have experienced Nick and Norah’s story first, you might find yourself a little bored or wishing for the original lovers of Manhattan.

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