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

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2010.
(Age 15+) Recommended. Following the success of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have again produced a sparkling collaboration, with two main characters, Lily and Dash, passing dares. Dash finds a red notebook full of dares from Lily on a shelf in his favourite bookshop. He decides to take up the challenge over the Christmas holidays and leaves dares for Lily as well. They both have lots of fun leaving messages and carrying out weird dares, but will they be able to get along when they first meet each other in real life?
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the humour and some of the witty repartee had me laughing out loud as Dash and Lily went out their funny and exciting dares. The fact that much of the book was taken up with a flirtation through a red notebook made it even more enjoyable and I was sorry when their journey ended. Their love of books and the many literary allusions made the story one for book lovers as well.
Dash and Lily were such likeable characters that I was compelled to follow their story virtually in one sitting. Even though Dash's nickname is Snarly, he comes across as a caring boy who looks out for his friends. I loved that Lily played soccer and followed her gradual coming of age, gradually convincing her large extended family that she could manage on her own. All the supporting characters were well rounded and interesting, especially Lily's homosexual brother Langston, who instigates the notebook dare and Boomer, Dash's friend. These supporting characters added to the depth of the story and gave the reader an insight in Dash and Lily's personalities.
The humour, funny banter and amusing events, as well as an engrossing romance, make this a compelling read for the mature teen.
Pat Pledger