Two Minute Review Take Two: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

Thursday, August 15, 2013
Title: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
Author: Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
Genre: contemporary, hipster
Series: N/A
Pages: 260
Published: October 2011
Source: bought
Rating: 2/5

"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.


  1. That's what kept me from reading it for so long... the strange mix of reviews. Most of my GR friends don't speak fondly of this though and I think I'm inclined to agree and skip the pain and suffering. Sorry this one didn't work out for you though!

    1. I wish I had listened, but I had faith in Leviathan. As a single author, he works well. It just wasn't a good fit!

  2. This one has been on my list for ages because of the premise and because years ago, I saw Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and thought it was cute. At least I think I did. And it's been on my list because as you mention, Cohn has a lot of fans and bloggers like you have enjoyed Levithan's work.

    And now, probably the only thing I will ever be able to associate with this book is that phrase: self-indulgent wish fulfillment. o.O

    (Also what does twee mean?)

    "Two minute reviews."
    ^-- I do like that tag though.

    Hope your next read is less disappointing!

    1. I had been on the lookout for this for years. I really liked what I had read of Levithan and the premise seemed interesting. I just don't think the two authors brought out the best in one another.

      Ahaha, I admit I liked that turn of phrase when it popped in my head.

      And I like my tag too! I use it for book reviews 4 or less paragraphs long :D

      My interpretation for "twee" is overly sweet, or precious. Urban Dictionary seems to agree with me ( It's not a word I use often, but Lily was just.. saccharine.

  3. Bahahaha, AGREEMENT. I liked the concept, unbelievable though it is, but Dash and Lily both need to go jump off a cliff. They're so incredibly irritating. I remember being super annoyed by the fact that he's described as snarly by everyone, but then she meets him and he's not. Let's just change him suddenly so he can be a love interest now. UGH.


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