Friday, February 4

Buddy Review: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

It's been a while since there's been a buddy review up here at Breezing Through. But we haven't forgotten why we started this blog and so here it is, our first review of 2011!

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
published by Knopf in October 2010
“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 New York Times 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?
Genre: Young Adult
Series: n/a

Ames: First of all Nath, I want to say thank you for bringing this book to my attention. Thank you! LOL I don't know why, but I just kept overlooking this book. Besides the fact that I'm a gooberhead, maybe something in the blurb turned me off. Anyway, I'm glad you told me you liked it - because I did too!

Nath: LOL, don't thank me, Ames. Thank the people who brought this book to my attention... which would be Leslie and Christine. Thanks ladies!!

I like these books with alternative POV, especially when each POV is written by a different author :) I think it makes it more interactive and realistic.

Ames: Yes, thank you ladies! LOL

I enjoy those kinds of books too. And with a writing duo like Rachel and David, the results are fun! Really, I don't know why, when I enjoyed Naomi and
Ely's No Kiss List so much I wouldn't have picked this up right away. Like I said, gooberhead. LOL

And Dash? I loved Dash. I had my own Dash in high school. I still re-read the emails he sent me after he moved away. Of course I wasn't his Lily, but he was my Dash.

Nath: Oh, lucky you!! I really liked Dash as well, he was a great character and made the book :) I liked his personality - the fact that he enjoyed solitude and him being snarly. There was definitively something charming in a sarcastic/cynical way :) In contrast, Lily was very upbeat... but at some times, I thought she was very spoiled and bratty ^_^;

Ames: I definitely feel like Lily was less mature than Dash. I mean, she had this almost-perfect family situation going on and he comes from a divorced family. He knows how to work that to his advantage but it still leaves a mark. I like that he was snarly and I like how these two characters balanced out.

At the beginning of the book, it was like Dash was kind of hopeless - he just wanted the Christmas season to be over. But Lily was full of good cheer and optimism and hope. And through the events of the book, you can see how that switched for each character. Lily lost her hope and optimism and Dash lightened up. It worked.

Nath: I think you've actually pinpointed it - the almost-perfect family. She's surrounded by people who love and care for her, so in that sense, her life is quite idyllic. I don't think she's ever experienced her family letting her down before this Christmas, and so her lack of maturity stems from not being independent enough. In a way, she's extremely lucky ^_^;

The difference in personality definitively worked well in this book :) The reversal in personality was also well done and with a lot of subtlety.

I have to say, I really liked the premise of the book, how Dash and Lily met through that red notebook. I'm a tad disappointed though that the idea came from Lily's brother.

Ames: I like the concept too. But listen you - Lily kept it going! That's the important thing. I like how the other characters were incorporated into the story. Lily's family and Dash's friends. I really liked Boomer. He reminded me of a puppy, always underfoot but you can't get mad because he's just so cute. LOL

And Lily's great-aunt. She was the best. One of my favorite scenes is with her and Dash.

"Is Lily home?" I asked.
The woman settled down across from me and laughed.
"Who's to say I'm not Lily?" she asked back.
"Well," I said, "a few friends have actually met Lily, and I like to think they would've mentioned if she were eighty."
"Eighty!" The old woman feigned shock. "I'll have you know I'm not a year over forty-three."
"With all due respect," I said, "if you're forty-three, then I'm a fetus."
"Seriously," I said. "Where's Lily?"
"I need to gauge your intentions," she said, "before I can allow you to dillydally with my niece."
"I assure you I have neither dillying nor dallying on my mind," I replied. "I simply want to meet her. In person. You see, we've been-"
She raised her hand to cut me off. "I am aware of your epistolary flirtation. Which is all well and good - as long as it's well and good. ..."
LOL! Epistolary flirtation!

Nath: LOL, great passage. I just truly love Dash and his dry wit! LOL.

Okay, you're right, she continued and that what matters... but still...

I liked Boomer as well! A bit over-excited, but very loyal... indeed, a puppy LOL. I think in this case, the secondary characters were very important especially since it takes a long while before Lily and Dash meet. They are the ones that really show us who Lily and Dash are.

Ames: True, true. Also, I liked the places where they made the other go.

Did you recognize the band at the club from the one in Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist? The band belonging to Norah's ex-boyfriend?

Also, the boots. :)

Nath: The places were awesome. I think it really captured New York City during the holidays well :) I could kind of imagine it and how crowded everywhere must be!

And no, I didn't recognize the band, because I read Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist afterwards.

I thought the first 2/3 of the book was really great... and then, it started losing steam a little bit after Dash and Lily met. It felt the first 2/3 were fun and then, it suddenly took a more serious tone.

Ames: I agree it got a little serious, but I don't think that meant it lost steam. That's where the changes start to happen for Lily. She gets some bad news and she's reacting to that. But also, the baby snatching plot was towards the end and I loved that!

Nath: For me, it did, because it started out all fun and that's what I wanted it to be :) Also, I was as disappointed as Dash about their meeting :( It's the romance reader side of me that wished for something more idyllic.

The baby snatching plot was hilarious, but at the same time, so absurd ^_^;

Ames: I think it was silly fun, not so much absurd. :P  And yeah everything would be great if life were idyllic but I liked their first meeting.  Dash needed a reality check when it came to Lily and teenager's make stupid decisions sometimes.  It shows you how they've both grown that they can get past that less-than-perfect first meeting.

Also, as book lovers, I really like where they were at the end of the book.

Nath: Oh definitively, Ames! I think the ending fit given everything they went through :) Although, me personally, I'm not sure I'd be happy being locked with the Oxfort English Dictionary, but a couple boxes of romance or fantasy novels... and yes baby! :)

So, what grade would you give Dash & Lily's Book of Dares? It's a B+ for me. A good and solid read with engaging characters. I wished the book would've been longer though!

Ames: B+ for me as well. I think it might have lost steam if it were longer.

Nath: Perhaps. I noticed that most of their books are short. Ah well, still looking forward to their next books :)


Amy said...

I'm so glad that Nath had mentioned this book on her blog when she bought it. I finally got a copy from the library and can't wait to start Dash & Lily's Book of Dares.

Great review, ladies! I'm more excited to read it now.

Sally said...

This was one of my favourite books last year, this review has made me want to read it all over again.

Leslie said...

Awe, so happy you both enjoyed it! It was such a fun read. I've never been to NYC but this made me want to go. :)

"I assure you I have neither dillying nor dallying on my mind,"

I loved Dash's humor!

Hilcia said...

Great review! I have this book in my TBB list and am definitely reading this year. :)

nath said...

Amy - Hope you enjoy it as much as we did, Amy :)

Sally - LOL. It was just a great book, right? :)

Leslie - Yep, yep :) I think that not knowing NYC doesn't take away from the book... however, knowing the city does enhance the impact :P

nath said...

Hilcia - I'm pretty sure you're going to love it, Hils :P

~ames~ said...

Amy-I second Nath's comment. :P

Sally- Have you read anything else by this duo?

Leslie-I loved his humor too - his snarkiness, definitely something I enjoyed. And I want to visit NYC some day too.

Hilcia-Good stuff! I hope you enjoy it too. :P

Christine said...

Awesome buddy review, you two! :)

I'm so pleased with myself for being at the pimping end of this book! *pats self on back* LOL ;)

I am a big fan of alternative POV books like this one. I loved that Dash & Lily interacted so long through the book and that they both interacted in person with real life people in each other's world before meeting. It was fun.

I think both characters were wonderfully realistic. Dash was snarly, but not depressing, you know? And Lily was a bit naive and overdosed in holiday spirit, but not at all annoying. Both were products of their family situations--both realistic.

I agree with you about the subtlety of Dash & Lily's Christmas spirit kind of coming together and balancing the holiday spirit between them. I liked that a lot.

Ames, the scene you quoted between Dash and Lily's great-aunt was one of my favorites, too!!! Especially the rest of that scene where she offers him tea and they go through all the varieties she has and Dash keeps saying no with little snarly--but not rude-- comments about the teas! LOL I was giggling.

I'm planning on going to The Strand one of these days!

nath said...

Christine - LOL, Christine :P Good job indeed!

Take picture when you're going to go to the Strand! :P

And yes, I think it one of the reasons why this book worked so well was the balance :) Also that it was not all internal, but there were interactions with real people as well :P