Book Review: “Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares” by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Title: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (Dash & Lily #1)
Author: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Genre: Romance/Holiday
Intended audience: YA
Date Read: 04/12/2020– 05/12/2020


What’s up with YA characters that talk like forty-year-olds? That is the main thing I have to say about this book. I’ve been seeing all the talk about the new Netflix adaptation so I thought I’d check out the book.

I really liked the idea of two characters who had never met before communicating via a notebook passed between their friends and relatives. I liked the exploration of how we can build up an idea of a person so much that the reality of them can’t help but disappoint.

But the characters, especially Dash, spend so much time waxing lyrical and quoting classic authors (are there really that many teenagers obsessed with J. D. Salinger?) that I just couldn’t believe he was a sixteen/seventeen-year-old.

I did like Lily’s character a bit more. She was sweet, and I related to the sheltered upbringing she’s had. I thought her family’s dynamics were done really well. But her over-the-top quirkiness wore thin after a while.

The story is lighthearted. Nothing especially high-stakes ever happens, and the conflict is more a series of amusing incidents rather than any drama (though there is one scene involving a touchy-feely department store Santa that is obviously played for laughs but made me feel a bit squicky). Obviously this is what the book is going for, and that’s fine. But I never quite got into it, and it left me wanting a bit more.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: “Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares” by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

  1. Lyn Webster says:

    I’ve been watching the Netflix series and enjoying it. I think I like the concept more than the actual execution, but it’s enjoyable in a light-hearted way. And I appreciate that unlike most romances, the leads aren’t supermodel attractive but more like real people. I was wondering if the book had any more depth, but apparently not.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Emily Wrayburn says:

      I agree – I watched half of the first episode last night after writing this and I was surprised that Dash is a bit more real-looking than on the book cover. I think they touched them up a little in the photos. I think I’ll keep watching, maybe when we’re getting a bit closer to Christmas and I need something that doesn’t use too much brain space.

      Liked by 1 person

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