Author: Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
Genre: contemporary, hipster
Published: October 2011
"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 cosmic mismatch of disastrous proportions?
In what world would this series of events really happen? Self-indulgent wish fulfillment, thy name is Dash and Lily's Book of Dares.
I had wanted to read this for years -- but friend reviews were all over the place, so I adjusted my hopes to a more reasonable level. It turns out that even that readjustment wasn't enough -- "disappointment" doesn't even begin to describe how much of a let down this was.
My issues came early: I thought Dash was unfailingly pretentious and Lily was so twee that she made my teeth hurt. He's smarmy, she's cutesy. He's a hipster and she is so peppy I don't even know what to do with her. The way the notebook was passed back and forth was believable enough, until the two meet. And the plot turns into some kind of wacky romantic comedy. I know books are up to interpretation, but REALLY. This book strained credulity in so many ways: that someone as hipsterish as Dash would get along with goofy Lily, that what happens with Boris would fall out that way, that this many quirky people would act just so perfectly for the plot to get moving.... It just does not work.
The only thing that saved this from a one-star was that rarely there would be a line or dialogue that felt real, or read nicely. But for a book I expected so much from (I've really loved Levithan's other novels! Cohn has so many fans!), Dash and Lily's Book of Dares was a wash. Based on this, I don't think I will be reading either of these two author's other collaborations (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Naomi and Eli's No Kiss List). This book was just so... irritating. The POVs, the personalities, the plot, etc. It all grated on my nerves and just made me disdainful. Dash and Lily were not characters for me and this was not the book for me.