Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
By: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 26, 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?
Dash and Lily, 16, find themselves on their own in Manhattan at Christmas. Dash is alone by choice–he's told each of his divorced parents that he's spending the holiday with the other, leaving them both to take vacations out of town. Lily's parents are taking the honeymoon they couldn't afford when they got married. They think that Lily is in the capable hands of her older brother, but he's less interested in her than in his new boyfriend, and then he gets sick and spends most of the holiday in bed. He does, however, start in motion the activity that is central to the story. It involves a red Moleskine notebook with a list of literary clues that Lily leaves in the stacks at the Strand bookstore. Bookish and erudite Dash finds it and is intrigued enough to follow Lily's lead and leave some clues of his own. The dares in the book's title refer to innocent things such as going to various crowded places like Macy's and FAO Schwartz to pick up messages. As the dares go on, the teens reveal more and more about themselves in the pages of the notebook, until they finally meet under the worst possible circumstances. While the words, ideas, and sentiments are not those of typical kids, they are not out of the realm of possibility for well-read teens. As they did in Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist (Knopf, 2006), the authors combine their talents to write an appealing book. It makes readers long to buy a notebook, begin filling its pages, and find a friend who might turn out to be more. This book will spend as much time off the shelf as Lily's notebook.
Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.