Author: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan| Website & Website
Publication Date: First, October 26thth, 2010; this version October 5th, 2012
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; Harlequin UK Limited
My Interest: Hype, holiday read
Source: Net Galley
Age Group | Genre: YA | Contemporary, Realism, Romance, Holiday
What better way to start my year of reviewing than with book blogging confessions! This is the first book I have ever read by either Rachel Cohn or David Levithan. I know… they are just a few of the many, many authors I hope to discover this year. But, after reading Dash & Lily, I am definitely a believer in their collaboration so Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is next on my list. As is pretty much everything else they have written. Ever.
But seriously, what a great read guys. Absolutely fun, and weird, and adventurous, and thought provoking, and just perfect for the holidays.
A copy of Dash & Lily was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way (cross my heart) nor did I promise a good rating. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine.
Since her parents have left her alone for Christmas this year (well, not completely alone–her brother is home but he’s too busy with his boyfriend to keep her entertained) Lily knows she has to do something to keep busy. So before he gallivants off with his love, Lily’s brother helps her come up with a scavenger hunt promising her not only adventure, but love.
Dash, who also happens to be alone this holiday, stumbles upon Lily’s red notebook hidden in the stacks of The Strand. As he answers each question, he begins to wonder if perhaps he is just the right guy for this mysterious Lily.
The two begin to trade dares, dreams, memories, and desires as they send each other on a adventure throughout New York City. They continue to connect through the pages of the notebook, but as the moment draws ever closer of them actually meeting, Dash and Lily begin to wonder if their real selves have only made up a romance in their mind.
As a reader, I was definitely immersed in this story from the first pages. Adventure in New York City? Yes please! Adventure that starts in a bookstore and hopefully ends in romance? Double please. After a few reviews and recommendations for this book, I knew it was something I had to pick up during Christmas, and I am so glad I did. Not only did it provide a feel-good reading atmosphere for my holiday break, but it reminded me how much I love contemporary and teen romance novels.
I have never been to New York City physically, but while reading this story, I felt as if I was there. Cohn and Levithan describe the hustle and bustle of the city in a a sense that stressed me out, (something I don’t look forward too if I ever visit) and I’m pretty sure Macy’s on Christmas Eve is off my tourist list. But that doesn’t mean their setting was bad. In fact, the stress of the city I felt made the the atmosphere of the book all that more real. Visually, I could picture every little spot Dash and Lily visited, and the description balanced well with the dialogue.
Since I’ve been devouring dystopian and fantasy novels lately, it was a pleasant change to fall into the real world. Plotwise, the concept of a scavenger hunt with a stranger was daring…and it encourages me to want to get off the couch and explore a city with my friends or throw a message in a bottle in the ocean and see what happens. Even though Dash and Lily are teenagers, I found their lives to be more adventurous than my own. They both struggle deeply with family issues through the novel, and their red notebook adventure is an escape for them. But I also found it to be so much more. Neither seemed to connect well with the physical people in their life, and character wise, I learned more about Dash and Lily through their writing. I always say that I express myself better in words, and in this case, that is exactly what Dash and Lily do.
Nonetheless, I loved both of them dearly. Dash is the type of boy I think I would have fell in love with at age 16, and in some sense, Lily was me. She is weirdly different and not at all afraid to show it. As a female reader, I found Lily very easy to connect too–and though the family issues were something I never dealt with– the outcast feeling and trouble connecting with girl friends was a struggle. Her heart is beautiful, and I feel like her smile would be contagious. In the course of the story, I feel as if she really finds herself–partly because of Dash, but mostly because of her own self.
Overall, this is a 5 rating for me, and what I think will be a yearly Christmas read. It is one of those books that holds snippets of wisdom and quotes I want to line my wall with. As a teacher warning, there is some strong language use and no sex, but wishes of it. I recommend this novel for older readers and anyone wanting a little feel-good atmosphere for the holidays. It will make you laugh, make you smile, and even give your heart a few flutters.
If you like this novel, you might like….
Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, & Lauren Myracle
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
[for ratings system, please check out my Bookshelf]