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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the Red Notebook
I feel like a romance cliché: I fell in love with this book at first sight and never fell out. This is ironic, since Dash & Lily's Book of Dares is pretty much dedicated to being anti-cliché when it comes to romance.

I recently had a conversation with one of my students, a teenage boy who just broke up with his girlfriend and was feeling bad about...
Published on November 6, 2010 by Kate Coombs

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lost its charm along the way
This didn't end as well as it started. It had a cute cover and a cute premise, but the characters stopped being cute along the way.

Starting with Dash finding Lily's notebook at the Strand, the two quickly fall into back and forth adventures, learning about each other along the way. I found that Lily was immature, not showing any growth at all throughout the...
Published on April 14, 2011 by Stephanie (Poetry to Prose)


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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the Red Notebook, November 6, 2010
By 
Kate Coombs (Utah, United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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I feel like a romance cliché: I fell in love with this book at first sight and never fell out. This is ironic, since Dash & Lily's Book of Dares is pretty much dedicated to being anti-cliché when it comes to romance.

I recently had a conversation with one of my students, a teenage boy who just broke up with his girlfriend and was feeling bad about it. He said, "Everybody's a stranger, and always will be." This seemed to frighten him. I told him I was going to loan him Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. "It's all about that," I said. "But it still manages to have a happy ending."

As our story opens, it's Christmas time in the Big Apple, and Dash has fooled each of his divorced parents into thinking he's with the other one so he can spend Christmas in surly Grinch-like solitude. Well, perhaps not solitude, though he's definitely a young Grinch in the making: Dash discovers a red notebook incongruously shelved in a grand used bookstore called the Strand. (It's real! With an alleged eighteen miles of books.) The notebook challenges Dash to a little scavenger hunt in the bookstore, managing to embarrass him almost immediately. Dash picks up the gauntlet and returns the favor by issuing a dare of his own. Cynical Dash is pleased to realize that the notebook is obviously from an equally sardonic teenage girl trying to see if she can meet her male counterpart.

Only it's not. Dash doesn't know this for pages on end, but the girl, Lily, didn't start the notebook, though she does quickly enter into the spirit of things and keep it going. The notebook is actually the brainchild of her older brother, who is hoping to keep her entertained and out of his hair so he can enjoy spending the holidays with his new guy. (Their parents have disappointed Lily by going on a second honeymoon.)

Lily is about as far from a Grinch as you can get, a starry-eyed idealist who love-love-loves Christmas. She even drops her atheism annually so she can sing the religious Christmas carols with proper enthusiasm. While she's a little off the wall, Lily is not a major risk-taker, partly because she has a huge, overly protective extended family.

Yet this is not exactly a book about opposites attracting, either. It's more the story of assumptions and yearnings, the way no one can ever be the fulfillment of another person's romantic daydreams. You'll find that Dash is quite the philosopher-prince. His musings get a little over-the-top in spots, evoking the spirits of thirty-something authors past and present--but it all pays off, I assure you.

I'm afraid I'm making the book sound serious, whereas it's just as much a cheerily frenetic sleigh ride through New York City. The dares in the red notebook are creative and often funny, many involving field trips to urban landmarks. There's a spirit of friendly one-upsmanship, just as you would expect from a series of dares. For example, after Lily sends mall-hating Dash to Macy's at the height of the holiday shopping season to look for reindeer gloves, he retaliates by making her go to a matinee showing of a film called Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer with a horde of moms and toddlers.

Speaking of movies, the absolute funniest thing in the book, hands down, is the spoof of a Pixar movie and how Dash and Lily respond separately to having seen it. I laughed my head off.

Cohn and Levithan give us dog walking, soccer goal-keeping, wax celebrities, ex-girlfriends, snowball fights, militant mommies, police cars, and Internet video scandals of the baby-catching variety. Not to mention marvelous secondary characters, including an extremely cool Bohemian great-aunt.

This is teen romance writ large, irresistibly so. It's romance over-scripted, over-analyzed, and yet, somehow, played out like a nice long game of Monopoly between two basically nice people. Seems pretty apt in today's world. I give you: Dash & Lily. Read their Book of Dares. And then watch for Book Two--apparently the authors fell hard for these characters, too, and are planning to make it a series. They've got a great cast to work with! [Update: Now I'm hearing there's no sequel planned. I wish there were!]

Note for Worried Parents: You'll probably be concerned about the occasional use of the F word and a few crude remarks from the teenage boys. Also, there's some teen drinking, though the results are not appealing. It's mentioned here and there that Lily's brother and his new boyfriend are sleeping together, but Dash and Lily don't have sex with anyone in this book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cute, Fun Read, December 6, 2010
This was a really cute book. I thought that the idea of the red notebook was interesting and a bit whimsical, and I really liked the whole concept of it. And, of course, it made me want to go poking around in used book stores.

I really liked Dash. He was a smartass who was a bit of a loner and a grump, though he was also a good guy with a handful of close friends who seemed to really think highly of him.
Lily started out a little too optimistic sugar-and-spice for me, but I liked the character contrast to Dash that she presented. She was also quirky and fun, and she grew on me.

The plot is driven by the passing around of the red notebook and the challenges that Dash and Lily present to one another, which are fun and funny. I liked the pacing of the book - it reads pretty quickly. I finished it in one sitting without getting bored or frustrated with it. It's a pretty light and enjoyable read.

It takes place during the winter holiday season in New York City - so if you are looking for a good Christmas or holiday read, then this one would be a good choice.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lost its charm along the way, April 14, 2011
By 
Stephanie (Poetry to Prose) (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This didn't end as well as it started. It had a cute cover and a cute premise, but the characters stopped being cute along the way.

Starting with Dash finding Lily's notebook at the Strand, the two quickly fall into back and forth adventures, learning about each other along the way. I found that Lily was immature, not showing any growth at all throughout the book, but instead regressing to her childhood nickname of `Shrilly.' Dash, while completely pretentious and unrealistic, was more interesting, but his brand of snark got tiresome after a while. Still, as the two set off on their dares, I enjoyed their interactions through the notebook, curious as to what they'd be doing next.

Unfortunately, their dares did come to an end. Once they met, I felt that their charm, as well as that of the entire book, was gone. I found myself skimming through the remainder of the book, not seeing any chemistry between the real Dash and Lily. The book became one of those where I found myself thinking of alternative ways I would have written it, which is never a good thing.

While perhaps not my favorite read, I will say that I laughed A LOT at the beginning. One bit, involving Santa, had me laughing for about five minutes straight. Perfect for the holiday season, I think there are many readers who would enjoy it more than I did.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Holiday Read, December 3, 2012
I have previously read Levithan's Every Day which I absolutely adore and Cohn's Beta which sadly I didn't. The authors take turns writing chapters...Levithan for Dash and Cohn for Lily. I know that I enjoy this sort of dual narration technique but how well would it be pulled off with alternating writers as well? Surprisingly well!

I adored both Dash and Lily's voices though I must confess to liking Dash a bit more. Yes he may have been "snarly" and too much of a "hipster" (What is a hipster anyway?) but I loved him in all his Unabridged OED precociousness glory. Lily was also an extremely likable character who was easy to connect with. Do they seem like complete opposites who never would have met without the machinations of the moleskin? Yes, Completely. Do they make a great couple? Undoubtedly.

I loved the concept...I mean really..who doesn't dream of finding a hidden note in a book or bookstore and that leading ne to an amazing guy/gal. *looks around* (I hope it's not just me...well if I weren't already married that is...ahem...eh...moving on...)

The setting of New York at Christmas time almost made me want to hop a train and take a Saturday in the city...and I still might. Yes there are horrid crowds...but it is so worth it:) The supporting characters like Dash's friend Boomer (who I also love...yes lots of love to go around here..) and all of Lily's relatives, especially her aunt, make the book even that much more enjoyable. Dash & Lily's Book of Dare's is perfect lighthearted yet at times quite thought provoking holiday fare. So grab a glass of eggnog and dig in!

Note: Review copy accepted from publisher in exchange for an honest review
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect holiday read, December 28, 2010
This review might be a bit biased since I am a big fan of Rachel and David's prior novels. So as I'm sure you can guess, I loved Dash & Lily's Book of Dares!

Told through alternating POV chapters we get to meet Lily and Dash. Lily is spending the holidays on her own this year. Her parents and grandfather are out of town and she is left with her brother who is more into his boyfriend then what Lily is up to. So she decides to leave a notebook with clues in the infamous Strand bookstore in New York City. Luckily the notebook lands in the hands of Dash - who is smart and brave enough to decipher Lily's clues and they're off on a wonderful adventure. A holiday adventure that will lead them not only to an awesome assortment of tourist infested NYC holiday spots, but also down a path of self-discovery and possibly... romance.

What I especially loved about Dash and Lily was how opposite to each other they both are. I guess it's true when they say, opposites attract. Dash hates Christmas - he's more of the brooding, "snarly" sort. He lied to both of his parents telling each that he was spending the holidays with the other just so he could have some time alone. Lily loves the holidays to the point where she's even part of a caroling troupe. She hates the fact that this will be her first Christmas without her family. Dash was more of the daring type - while Lily was more of a goody two shoes. And although the plot moves along because of the notebook and the different challenges it presents, the internal dialogue, notebook entries and discussions between the characters were a treat to read. As with all Cohn and Levithan collaborations - the characters are witty, snarky, sarcastic and downright fun.

This is the perfect holiday read. It is clever, funny, and simply a joy to read.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dash & Lily's Book of Dares reviewed by The Book Vixen, April 7, 2011
Why I Read this Book: As soon as I read the blurb for this book, I knew I had to read it. It's like a romantic scavenger hunt! Rachel Cohn wrote Lily's part, David Levithan wrote Dash's. Makes sense; the female author writing from the girl point of view and the male author writing the boy's perspective. This particular book is their third collaboration, though the first I've read.

What I Liked: The beginning took off and wasted no time sucking me right in. I read the book within 9 hours, it had that much sucking-in power.

What I Didn't Like: But towards the end, a wrench was thrown in and it knocked me off my rocker. I got most way through the book feeling really good about the story and then it just got really bizarre. Up until that point, the story was brilliant. The moleskin notebook, the missions, the intense conversations that were had by these two teenagers - all of it was well done. But when I got to the part with Boris and the baby, I rolled my eyes. I mean, it just went way off into left field. I was kind of bummed at that point but carried on.

When I got to the ending, I felt empty. If I were into Fan Fiction, this is one book I would want to re-write the ending to. There was also quite an awkward conversation that took place between Lily's Aunt and Dash. What teenager talks like Dash and Lily do? I sure didn't. It was an adult voice coming through the two main characters, not a YA voice, and it felt out of place.

Overall Impression: I wanted to love this book but it just didn't turn out that way. The storyline didn't pan out the way I though it was going to and I was left disappointed. If you take it as an exaggerated story (one way out there in left field), then you might enjoy this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Romp Through NYC at Christmas., March 12, 2011
This book was everything I would expect after reading the blurb. It kept me laughing the entire time. My favorite part of the entire book was the characters. Even the characters who had a bit part, like Dash's friend Priya, seemed to jump right off of the page. Simply put, I could not get enough of this book.

The whole story takes place during the few days leading up to and after Christmas. However, don't be turned off if you hate the season, because there's something in there for you, too. The book starts off with a bang and had me wondering how Dash and Lily would ever get along in real life because they are complete opposites. Dash thinks the holiday season is the work of the devil while Lily relishes in it. Can they make it work? Well, you'll have to read the book to find out!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVED IT, January 17, 2011
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Well for starters rachel cohn is a genius. this book was fun and lively it had what every typical romance has and more. it had the weird girl, the dark brooding boy, it also had the disconnected parents and the many friends. i thought the book was very captivating once i started reading it i couldnt put it down until i was finished. i give it five stars!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and original, with a little bit of snark, January 1, 2011
By 
At first glance, it seems that the only thing Dash and Lily have in common is the fact that both teens are pretty much alone this Christmas. Lily is devastated, but Dash is looking forward to the quiet and for the day to be over with. Then, just days before Christmas, Dash finds a red moleskin notebook at The Strand, his favorite bookstore. And in this notebook are a series of clues and dares, written by Lily. Dash follows them, and then leaves a few dares of him own, until the two are sending each other all over New York City. In the context of the notebook and each other's dares, they seem perfect for each other...but will they be completely different people in real life?

This latest collaboration between David Levithan and Rachel Cohn is the best yet. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares is such an amazing book, full of coincidences, excitement, and hilarity. Dash and Lily have two very distinct personalities, but yet they work together so well. Levithan's style, penchant for using the most fascinating words, and Dash's dry sense of humor will have you laughing unexpectedly. Lily is probably the best character of the book though--she's not brimming with self-confidence and she doesn't have many friends, but she is funny, smart, and energetic, and she proves that you don't have to be a popular or an experienced heroine to be entertaining.

The Christmastime in New York City setting is also perfect for the story and feeds right into the atmosphere of Dash and Lily's relationship--excited, frenzied, always busy, and fraught with conflicting emotions. This is generally an upbeat and entertaining book, though it's not without its moments of doubt and fear and sadness as Dash deals with his family issues, Lily with her struggles with fitting in and making friends, and both of them face the prospect of meeting, and perhaps not living up to each other's expectations. This is an excellent pick if you like your romances with a bit of reality, humor, and snark, and it's packed full of funny one-liners you won't want to forget.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Quirky Holiday Read, December 23, 2010
By 
Beverly L. Archer (Colorado Springs, CO) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This is a great holiday read. I loved the idea of the red notebook. (Though to be honest, as a parent, I would not want my child to take part in such an adventure - hey what can I say, I'm a parent and somewhat cynical. Inside a book this is a lovely idea - in real life - it's scary). But I digress.

Dash is a wonderfully written character. He's what I would call snarky. Lily calls him Snarly, but I think snarky is a better adjective. He's a smart aleck and a bit of loner, but all of that just hides the real Dash - a good guy with a good heart. Lily is a little on the Pollyanna side, but I wish there were more teen girls like her. I like the relationship she has with her family. She's somewhat of an innocent in a time when so many young girls are jaded and have grown up way too fast. Lily's also very quiry and that makes for a wonderful story.

The plot is driven by the passing around of the red notebook and the challenges that Dash and Lily present to one another, which are fun and funny. The pacing works very well - a light and very enjoyable read. Though it takes place at Christmas, it would be a good read any time of the year.
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Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan (Paperback - October 11, 2011)
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