Friday, July 5, 2013

Review: "Dash & Lily's Book of Dares"

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
3 out of 5 stars

Being more specific in my rating, I'd give this probably a 3.75 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed it quite a lot, but there seemed to be something off about it. Maybe it's the fact that it is a Christmas story and I read it in the middle of June lol. I think I'd like to buy this still though (I read it as an eBook from the library) and I can see myself enjoying it around the holidays more as a light, fluffy read. One of the main problems that I had (like most of the reviews I've read) is that Dash & Lily, who are supposed to be 16 years old, come across as overly sophisticated and at times, unrealistic.

This book was written by two authors, obviously, but their approach was to not write it together, but to write a chapter at a time, Levithan writing Dash's part and Cohn Lily's, with no communication otherwise. It's intriguing but at times it doesn't work, the story doesn't mesh well, and towards the end it just kind of unravels. In one chapter, we have Dash cursing up a storm as he is forced to sit on Santa's lap at Macy's and basically feel him up. Then in the next chapter, we have Lily saying she can't go to a movie alone and practicing "mean faces" in the mirror. But even with that, I still enjoyed the book!

Dash (this must be the week for weirdly-named teenagers lol) is a sixteen year old boy who has managed to trick his divorced parents into letting him stay home alone for Christmas break. He detests Christmas and all its familial obligations, forced cheer, and over-crowded stores. He spends most of his time in bookstores, browsing in odd and peculiar fashions that intrigue me: "...the afternoon was sponsored by a particular letter, and would visit each and every section to check out the authors whose last names began with that letter. Other days, I would decide to tackle a single section, or would investigate the recently unloaded tomes, thrown in bins that never really conformed to alphabetization." It is on one of these bookish journeys that he comes across a red Moleskine journal that does not belong among the Salinger classics. Curious, he opens it and begins a journey across the bookstore and with an unknown girl (he hopes).

Enter the unknown girl, Lily, who adores Christmas and everything about it, but is "abandoned" by her parents, who have decided to take a trip to Fiji and her grandpa, who is proposing to some hussy down in Florida. She is stuck with her older brother and as he is completely enamored with his new boyfriend, she is essentially just as alone as Dash. She agrees to go along with the Book of Dares that her brother has come up with and is completely surprised when A. someone actually goes along with it and B. they up the ante and she is swept along in the adventure. My favorite part about Lily? She has fashion sense that rivals Claudia Kishi and I just had to do a Polyvore for her. :)

I think my outfit is very festive for the day before the day before Christmas...Oxford uniform school shirt tucked into a knee-length lime-green felt material skirt with a reindeer embroidered on it, candy-cane-colored swirled stockings, and...Great-aunt Ida's retired tasseled majorette boots, with taps still on the toes and heels.

Seriously, awesome right? In between the dares and the running around New York and the just being kids, there are some surprisingly deep moments to enjoy. Well, maybe not surprising, since they talk like they're 30 (and even I don't talk like that half the time). Quotes like this remind you that this is, indeed, a romance: I want to believe there is a somebody out there just for me. I want to believe that I exist to be there for that somebody. And I think it does a decent job of representing that.

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