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TeenReader Tuesday: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

Another TeenReader Tuesday:

Dash & Lily’s Book of DaresDash & Lily’s Book of Dares, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, begins with 16-year-old Dash finding a mysterious notebook on the shelves of the Strand in New York City. Inside the book he finds a list of instructions, a set of puzzles, and clues that provide a way to contact the author — a nameless but undeniably interesting girl. As he writes an additional set of instructions himself, the two begin to pass the book back and forth, sending each other all over the city yet never meeting face to face. But faced with a real-life encounter, how will things hold up?

Overall, I thought this book was creative and well done. The puzzles that the two leave for each other are funny, surprising, and provide a great view of New York as they dash (get it? Dash?) across the city. It was a lot of fun. But halfway through, the two characters meet face to face, and utter chaos erupts, both for the characters and for the reader. The rest of the book is spent with a kind of depressed wandering. Neither of them is sure whether or not to continue to swap the notebook, family troubles erupt, and what once was a lighthearted book becomes droopy and lethargic. Granted, this kind of slump has to happen in any romance book to have a satisfying rise at the end, but here it felt a little long, changing the tone and pace of the book.

But hey, the writing had depth without being preachy, the characters were quirky without getting annoying, and even the slumpy half of the book had some laughs. So with note to plodding plot problems in places, it still stands as a good romance and story. (MotherReader would want me to mention that there is some Language in the book, but honestly, nothing that will surprise teens who walk the halls of any high school.)

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13 comments:

Kelly Butcher said...

Thanks for the review! I have this on my to read pile, but have been putting it off since it probably isn't a great fit for an elementary school. It sounds kind of like Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist... that got droopy too!
Kelly

Brimful Curiosities said...

Too bad the book wasn't written as more of a mystery and less of a romance. Would that have helped to avoid the "plodding plot problems?" The beginning sounds quite interesting, in a "You've Got Mail" or "The Shop Around the Corner" way.

sally apokedak said...

What a great review. It makes me want to read the book, and lets me know to keep going despite the droopy middle.

Thanks!

madelyn said...

TeenReader Fan Club!! Charter member!

Katie said...

I have got to finish this book! I got it for Christmas, read two chapters, and then got distracted and never went back to it. I'm usually a big David Levithan fan, and not as big a fan of Rachel Cohn, but this time, it seemed like I would like both! Thanks for the review.

Carrie said...

I like this review a lot but the part about the Language is the best...and the very reason I'll read more of these TeenReader reviews.

The Book Chook said...

Great review!

maclibrary said...

What a great well written review! I want to read the book and might just skim the droopy part. I hate that in a book.

Tiffany the StorySnoop said...

LOVED this book! Great holiday read, love the NYC setting. Witty banter, rich vocabulary and insightful musings - what's not to love about Dash and Lily? Bought this for my 16-year old for Christmas, along with a red notebook : )

susanwrites said...

I've been hearing about this book but hadn't picked it up yet. You convinced me to give it a read and I'll be prepared to skim as needed when it starts to drag. Looking forward to more of your reviews.

Ms. Yingling said...

I loved this book but was disappointed in the language. Maybe fine for high school students, but it's not something that I want to personally hand to middle school ones.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for the great review. I love knowing a teen's take on a book for young adults.

Michelle said...

I admit, I started this book and wasn't able to get into it. I abandoned it quickly. Sounds like I made the right choice.