Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 26th, 2010
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
“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 comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?
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.
demon dear cat destroyed my Christmas tree right after I put it up and after crying on Cait’s shoulder and eating a purely medicinal Godiva bar, I decided to check Goodreads’ Listopia for some holiday books to improve my mood. I remember when Dash & Lily came out, but I didn’t realize it was a Christmas book. It definitely was just the thing, so I grabbed it and a cup of hot chocolate and snuggled in for a nice read. I even let the demon cat sit next to me.
Dash and Lily don’t know each other yet, but both are spending Christmas in New York, separated from their parents. Dash likes it that way – he’s not exactly a festive guy and he’s not interested in celebrating anything with either one of his divorced parents. Lily is a true holiday believer, stuck behind with her older brother while their parents vacation in Fiji. She’s kind of a loner, a weird girl who has trouble meeting and talking to people – and that’s where the red moleskine book full of dares comes in.
Tucked away in an unusual place in The Strand, the most famous bookstore in New York, is a small red notebook with an unusual message. When Dash finds it, he can’t resist following the cryptic clues around the store and leaving a message to pass back to the book’s owner to keep the game going. Lily decides to keep playing and she and Dash keep daring each other into going to places that they wouldn’t normally go and into revealing things in the notebook that they might not tell anyone.
The narrative alternates between Dash and Lily depending on who has the notebook (usually), so Lily’s only image of Dash is that he’s “snarly.” However snarly or typically bad boy he is in appearance, he’s almost comically erudite. He’s constantly talking or thinking about authors and he has a seriously orgasmic love for the dictionary. It’s cutely nerdy bordering on raising-my-eyebrow strange for a sixteen-year-old. He kept me laughing though, whether he was groping Santa or talking to his strange friend Boomer who may or may not have been dropped on his head repeatedly. He was moody, self-pitying, sweet and deliciously, razor-sharp funny. He had one exchange in particular with Lily’s aunt that had me smiling.
“Well,” I said, “it’s not as if I’ve come to take her to the sock hop, or to ask her to go double-spooning in some tapioca, if that’s what you mean. We’ve already established my opinion on dillying and dallying, which right now is chaste with a chance for inveterate lust, depending on the ripeness of our first interactions. I have been told by a source of surprising trustworthiness that I must not paint her too much with my ideas of her, and my intention is to follow that advice. But really? Completely uncharted territory here. Terra enigma. It could be future or it could be a folly. If she’s cut from your cloth, I have a sense we might get along.”
Well, see what I mean about being a little too erudite. But he’s cute.
Lily is a little bit of a Mary Sue, albeit a quirky one. Think Zooey Deschanel in an ABC Family remake of It’s a Wonderful Life. I liked her better toward the end of the book when she lost a little of her glow and was forced to show some grit. The teasing relationship she has with Dash through the story is mainly through the red book and their dares and confessions and I can’t see any better way it could have played out for either of them and the process they have to go through to finally be in a place to meet.
The story is definitely written around the holiday – it takes place around the handful of days surrounding Christmas, the dares send Lily and Dash into Macy’s, FAO Schwartz, to light exhibits and places like that and part of Dash and Lily’s problems stem from families who’ve left them at this time of year. It has some sweet messages that are good any time of the year about knowing who you really are, what you want and being okay with things not being as perfect as you thought they’d be. I had fun with this one and it soothed my Grinchy heart, although I don’t know if I’ve forgiven my
demon cat yet.