The age old question…is there someone out there for everyone? We’ve all thought it or asked it out loud or discussed it with friends, but have we ever actively gone out and searched for the answer? I’ve always assumed the answer is yes, that there is someone for everyone. I never went on the hunt for it though. I never sought it out on my own, went out of my comfort zone for it. I was never as brave as 16 year olds Lily and Dash.
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares is a story of two teens in New York at Christmas time searching for something. They are lonely and alone for the holiday and want something more then their average existence. They want a connection of some sort. It starts out with a notebook, with a dare, left in a book store for someone to find and evolves into so much more. It evolves into opening yourself up to someone and seeing where it could go. Dash is the first one to take the bait and from that point on he and Lily have a connection that can’t be explained. They pass the notebook back and forth traipsing through the streets of New York.
Through a series of bizarre dares and occurrences Dash and Lily get to know each other and themselves in a way they couldn’t have imagined. Lily had always lived a very sheltered life, being watched closely by her overbearing grandfather. She was considered the baby of the family so she was just never allowed to do things on her own. No dates, no boys, no freedom. She was kind of timid and unsure at the beginning but blossomed into a confident, capable teen as each dare pushed her farther and farther out of her comfort zone. Dash on the other hand learned how to not be so serious. Did he have a sense of humor through the whole thing, sure, but there was also a ‘wise beyond his years’ feel to him. He seemed to stuffy at points, but with each of Lily’s dares he got to know the silly side of himself and for that I was appreciative.
Although I enjoyed Dash and Lily’s voices, their use of random SAT words, their snark and humor, their all around weirdness, and I loved how they connected the way they did through a form of trust and a notebook, the main part of this book that I loved was the role New York played. From the bookstore where you could actually smell the books to FAO Schwartz where you could feel the holiday crowd congestion to a neighborhood in Brooklyn twinkling in Christmas lights, I felt like I was in that red moleskin notebook. I felt like Dash and Lily were bringing me with them as they opened themselves up and learned more and more about each other.
There was a part of this book that left me cold. Toward the end Cohn and Levithan added an pointless gimmick that gets Dash and Lily into trouble with a group of mothers and the cops and really should have had no part in the book. It was silly and contrived because it wasn’t needed or necessary, the voices given to Dash and Lily were enough without a random gimmick. It took something away from the book instead of adding something which is a cardinal mistake. But besides that, all in all a fun, really quick enjoyable story about friendship and young love.