Monday, 21 April 2014

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares- Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Dash is browsing in his favourite book shop when he finds a red Moleskine notebook nestled in amongst the Salingers.  As he opens the book he is faced with challenges and questions, and here starts a relationship which is part penpal / part confidante.  Lily, the elusive owner of the notebook, fills Dash's thoughts and he can't help but wonder if they would be friends (or more) were they to actually meet.

As a dual narrative text with both Dash and Lily taking the lead in equal measure.  This allows the reader to gain an overview, an almost voyeuristic overview, of events. 

Set over ten December days in New York City, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares has a festive, wintery feel, but don't let that put you off reading it at another time of year.  Although the plot is quirky and interesting, I felt it was very much a character driven story.  I loved that Dash and Lily were both a bit kooky, unashamedly 'bookish' and that even the minor characters were an eclectic mix of eccentrics, 'outcasts' and non-conformists. 

The city of New York is almost a third protagonist, vividly painted in all its majestic glory.  As Dash and Lily visit an array of tourist attractions it gave me pangs, filling me with a longing to return to the Big Apple. 

The only disappointment for me was the abrupt ending.  I was still hooked and was over.  I didn't feel there was a complete resolution, and whilst it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book, I would have been happier for a more concrete conclusion.

I had read some of David Levithan's work before, but never anything by Rachel Cohn.  I'll definitely be reading more by both these authors.  They have a voice which reaches out to the reader, and I imagine it would particularly resonate with the target teen market.

7.5/10 (would have been more but for the disappointing end!)

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