Books | Dash & Lilly's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

If you remember back to the end of 2015, I shared with you lovely lot my 'To Read in 2016 List' which contained a grand total of fifty-two books (that's one book per week for all those who don't count maths as one of their strongest subjects) that I hope to get my nose into over the next year. In said post I did make the promise of regular books reviews as I progress through the challenge and I'm happy to say that today marks the day of the first review.
Dash & Lilly's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a book that has held a spot on my to-read list for a little while now so it seemed only fitting to let it take on the role as the first book I read as part of my challenge. Not only that but the book has a bit of a festive theme to it, which made it a perfect read for the beginning of January.

“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 favourite 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?
First things first, the idea behind this story is truly wonderful. It was a breath of fresh air to hear of a love story with the traditional foundations of the written word as opposed to a tinder profile or the likes. Plus, as a self-confessed bookworm, the concept of meeting a romantic interest in a bookshop is dream-like. I feel like the plot line also highlights the idea of falling in love with an idealised view of a person as opposed to the person themselves, which was something that I hadn't seen before in a novel within this particular genre.
Unfortunately, despite the wonderful premise, the execution of the tale was far less up my street. Now I don't like writing negative reviews on a piece of literary work, as I believe that any piece of the written word holds wonderful value regardless of my personal opinion on its contents, but I hold several opinions on Dash & Lilly's Book of Dares that I'd like to voice regardless.

The book features two protagonists; Dash (who's perspective is written by Levithan) and Lilly (as authored by Cohn) who narrate alternating chapters. I'm disappointed to say, however, that I disliked both of them.
Every time I open the pages of a YA Romance novel I hope to find a male lead with heart and personality, who leaves me falling ever so slightly in love with him (with Peter in To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han and Jase from My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick being prime examples). To be able to, on some level at least, understand the attraction of the primary love-interest to the protagonist really helps me to get into the novel and leaves me rooting for a happy ending for the pair. Unfortunately, this particular box was merely brushed over by the character of Dash. Whilst I'll admit that I did end up liking him to some extent come the end of the novel where he shows at least some element of the traits of a gentleman through his desire to ensure that Lilly gets home safely when in a vulnerable state, it ultimately wasn't enough to put him in my good books. If I'm honest I found the character of Dash to be a tad on the pretentious side, and far too whiny for my liking.

In terms of Lilly, I found her to be a thoroughly immature character with simply no depth; and don't get me started on the concept of her wearing one boot and one trainer whilst out in public, as a lover of fashion it angered me beyond belief.
I like a plot-line that keeps my attention with a fast pace and regular unexpected events, but in Dash and Lilly's Book of Dares I found myself reading what felt like a series of long mopey essays pieced together with a brief snippet of adventure. The novel also seemed to feature countless events that were of little value to the overall story (for example - Dash's encounter with a group of snowball-holding children whilst carrying a bag of yogurt).
To refrain from ending on a completely negative note, I would also like to note that I enjoyed Levithan's (brief yet well-written) exploration of the concept of a young boy and girl sleeping together "looking not for sex but for comfort". Sex can play such a strong role within relationships featured within YA Romance novels, so it was delightful to see a novel almost disregard it and focus its attentions on the other important elements of love.
Have you read Dash & Lilly's Book of Dares? What did you think?

1 comment:

  1. Your post is really making me miss reading. 52 books in a year would never of been a bother to me a few years ago. Now I am shocked to get through a few a year.

    If you are looking for books to read I really recommend Sherrilyn Kenyon, she isnt a romance writer, her books are more si-fi (good guys vs bad) but each book has a love story, some of which stick with me even now :) and it is a huge series which will have you hooked :)