Review: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Title:  Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
Author:  Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Series:  None
Publisher:  Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
Publication Date:  October 26, 2010
Pages:  260
Format/Source:  Hardback/Purchased
Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Contemporary

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

It Was a Case of Insta-Love…

For me, anyway.  Within the first few pages of Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, I was in love with the book.  David Levithan is one of my favorite authors and he is definitely in full force in this book, with his humor and writing that is so beautiful, it’s ridiculous.

I thought the notebook and its clues were incredibly clever, and like the synopsis above states, I want to find my own notebook of dares (even though I’ve already got my own Dash).  I liked both Dash and Lily, flaws and all, and was happy that this relationship had its issues, with each person failing to meet the other’s expectations and having their own expectations come crashing down at times.  But that’s how relationships work.  It’s not all butterflies and rainbows, and both parties have to put in time and effort for the relationship to work.

I also really enjoyed one part where a character talks about how men and women both get this idea of their perfect match inside their head, and everyone they meet gets measured up to that ideal, and they always fall short.  But it’s when we take people as they are, with their flaws and their imperfections, that we can truly realize someone who is a perfect match for us.

I found myself laughing out loud several times, cringing at others, and marveling over tons of beautiful passages.  I liked the Cinderella theme going on in the second half of the book, and I really enjoyed the banter between Dash and Lily’s great-aunt.

But Then The Spell Broke…

I’m not really sure what happened, but as I continued to read, I just didn’t love the book as much as I did at the beginning.  I still enjoyed the story a lot, but although it started out looking like this book was going to become one of my favorites, something just changed that.  It might be the fact that Lily called someone “Hermione Potter” at one point (I’m really hoping that was a typo), but I’m not really sure if that was it.  My love for the book just kind of ebbed and although I still enjoyed it, I didn’t end up loving it.  And that’s kind of disappointing.

Great Quotes…

Here are a few of my favorite lines from Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares:

“Eventually, I found myself in Outer Garments, wondering what, short of an earplug, would count as an Inner Garment.”

“I wanted to ask her, What does a stranger feel like? Not to be snarky or sarcastic. Because I really wanted to know if there was a difference, if there was a way to become truly knowable, if there wasn’t always something keeping you a stranger, even to the people you weren’t strange to at all.”
“I was attempting to write the story of my life. It wasn’t so much about plot. It was much more about character.”
My rating for Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan:
4 stars.  I wish that my love hadn’t faded for this book, because I really was expecting this to become one of my favorites.  I still enjoyed it, but not as much as I thought I was going to.
Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Random House
Disclaimer:  I purchased this book myself.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.

I read this book as part of the Levithan Loveathon, hosted by my friend Courtney at Abducted by Books.



  1. Brandi Kosiner

    February 13, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Sorry love ebbed some in this one but that you enjoyed overall.

  2. Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books

    February 14, 2014 at 2:53 am

    Bummer that your love faded, but 4 stars is still pretty good! I plan on saving this one (again lol) for next Christmas.

  3. Jamie

    February 15, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    I loved this one! That's SO disappointing though when this happens and it's happened a few times to me. I will be starting a book like OMG WOW WOW WOW this book is amazing and I want to declare it a favorite already and then something happens where it's awesomeness just doesn't stay as even towards the second half and most of the time I don't know why! Glad you still enjoyed it enough though!

  4. Bittner

    February 22, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    I agree with everyone else! I'm sorry that your love excitement for the book started to fade but 4 stars is still pretty high so I'm glad you still liked it in the end!

    And thank you for participating and sharing about Levithan Loveathon!

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