Imagine this: You’re in your favourite bookstore, scanning the shelves.
Well the weather outside is turning frightful and the time for delightful fireside storytelling is upon us once more so for my first December post I turn to a festive YA novel I have been waiting to read for a while…
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares is not only a good read but also a great concept for a book – two characters, two voices so two authors. Rachel Cohn and David Levithan each take up a titular role and so two very different narratives are woven together and played off one another as this penpal-esque story progresses. The voices of both Dash and Lily are mature and literate, and as bookish characters I would expect nothing less, but they are remarkably mature tonally and this can come across as borderline pretentious. My enjoyment of the book wasn’t affected but this AT all, for as a book nerd myself I related (!), but it did prevent me from falling deeply in love with the two of them.
Set in snowy New York City this book centres on the premise of getting to know a stranger and embarking on a journey to discover love in an unlikely place. Following two very different teenagers whose lives become entwined through a shared love of books and a single red moleskin. Their conversations happen through the pages of the notebook and Lily and Dash slowly get to know each other, a tradition it seems is lost with the immediacy of phones and social media. What I loved most about these conversations is that I felt I could join in, they give you the time to think about how you would respond and this makes for a much more inclusive and satisfying read.
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares brings to life the Christmassy streets of New York and I became utterly desperate to trawl through the shelves of the Strand bookstore! This almost festive fairy-tale quality to the story gives the reader the ability to overlook the huge amount of luck and coincidence that keeps these two strangers interacting – I don’t think it would be such an effective romance story if a random person takes the notebook halfway through so they never hear from each other again!
If you’re looking for a light-hearted, compelling but easy Christmas YA read then look no further. Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares is expert in instilling the joys of Christmas miracles and magic without the sickly sweet schmaltz. It’ll have you heading to the bookshop to search for your own little red notebook in no time at all!