Thoughts on a Book: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares

“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 and 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 the 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?


Red Cohn and David Levithan have written three books together. Their first, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, made into a movie starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings, directed by Peter Sollett. Their second, Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, was named a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. For their third book, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, David wrote Dash’s chapters and Rachel wrote Lily’s. Although they did not pass the chapters back and forth in a red Moleskine notebook, they did email them to each other without planning anything out beforehand. That’s the way they work.

Rachel’s previous books include Gingerbread, Shrimp, Cupcake, You Know Where to Find Me, and Very LeFreak. David’s previous books include Boy Meets Boy, The Realm of Possibility, Are We There Yet?, Wide Awake, Love is the Higher Law, Every You, Every Me, and How They Met and Other Stories.

  1. These are my kind of kids! Dash and Lily spends time in book stores, knows obscure literature, plays hangman to kill time and finds love in a red Moleskine notebook. (I am not ashamed to call them kids because am practically old enough to call  them as such.) Both of them have enough peculiarities to fill an entire regular ruled Moleskine notebook but Dash is quite the character. The Christmas-hating word whiz turned out to be a courageous kid, putting up with torturous instructions and falling in love with a Christmas-loving girl in strange vintage boots.
  2. A subtle but endearing take on same-sex relationship is included in the narration. Lily’s older brother Langston just recovered from a devastating break-up and is currently in a relationship with his new boyfriend. Replace “Langston” with any name of a girl and the thought of the sentence still works. It is not the person or his gender that matters but the human experience. Acceptance is the first step. Understanding is the key. Let all humans be.
  3. Some people – and I have read a few comments – dismiss this as a pretentious tome because the main characters pepper their sentences with words like treatise, verklempt and persnickety. First, Lily is a daughter of a Literature professor and Dash has a habit of learning one word from the dictionary before going to sleep. Second, utilizing beautiful words to construct sentences is not pretension but a a long lost practice buried underneath the GTGs, IKRs, and LOLs. 
  4. Highlighted at the end of the story is the undeniable power of social media. Lily has been wrongly-accused of a crime because of misinterpretation of a video uploaded on the Net. Like a good press relations manager, her friends contained the spreading of the viral video with their own YouTube hit. Super like.
  5. Rachel Cohn and David Levithan other publishing hit Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist has received a cinematic treatment featuring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings. Film producers need to snap this one up because it quite filmable. Setting: the Big Apple during Christmas season. Get a couple of talented teen actors good enough to take on the lead roles and it is a go. The Big Apple itself is an interesting character so this is going to be a fun ride.
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Jowana Bueser's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

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