Book Review: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares



I loved reading Dash & Lily Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

It starts with Dash finding a notebook next to his favorite book in a bookstore and opening to find a dare and a puzzle. He has to find some obscure books to piece together clues, and his trip around the store takes him from beautiful poetry to a YA book to The Joys of Gay Sex. Then the instructions tell him to pick a book and leave it along with the notebook with the kid at the Help desk.

He adds a pamphlet for a pizza joint / video rental store, and when Lily retrieves her notebook, she runs through the movies, finding clues, before she sends him to Macy’s to brave the Christmas shopping rush.

The game is on, taking them all over New York City. Back and forth, they leave clues, trade stories, and swap the notebook, leaving it in public places and never meeting. But the dares turn into something more as they begin to share their deepest secrets and most heartfelt emotions with each other. Getting to know Dash and Lily

At one point, he asks her what she wants for Christmas, and she answers with three pages of introspection:

I want to believe that despite all the evidence to the contrary, there is a reason to hope… I want to believe that even though I hope for things that are so magnanimous (good OED word, huh?), I am not a bad person because what I really want to believe in is purely selfish.

I want to believe there is somebody out there just for me. I want to believe that I exist to be there for that somebody… Belief. That’s what I want for Christmas. Look it up. Maybe there’s more meaning there than I understand. Maybe you could explain it to me?

He responds with this:

We believe in the wrong things… That’s what frustrates me the most. Not the lack of belief, but the belief in the wrong things. You want meaning? Well, the meanings are out there. We’re just so damn good at reading them wrong…

Two people who are deep thinkers—one who has grown weary of life and the other who is still in love with the wonder of every day—and they discover each other and find themselves in the process.

However, the bed of roses has a few thorns. They each develop their own expectations of the other, and when they do meet for real . . . well, let’s just say it wasn’t the best circumstances. They have to push past their disappointments and find friendship and understanding.

And it is this discovery that made me love this book so much.

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