Book Review: DASH AND LILY’S BOOK OF DARES by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Title in white on red
Genre: romantic comedy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 5 stars
Series: yes - first book


Book cover for DASH AND LILY'S BOOK OF DARES: title as a signpost surrounded by snow

“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.”

Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favourite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that 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?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Despite being someone who avoids romantic comedies and contemporaries, I come back to DASH AND LILY’S BOOK OF DARES every Christmas. It’s cheesy and very seasonal, and I probably would hate it if it wasn’t part of my Christmas traditions. But it is, and I like to read this as one of the first books in December (has had to become one of the first books read once I get home).

It’s been adapted into a Netflix show, though the book is better. While I enjoyed the show, it didn’t quite stick the landing as it ended up deviating a fair bit, and also lost some of the charm with the grand gestures and added drama, while the book’s ending is a lot more grounded and human. Still, it was a fun enough adaptation and this review is rapidly morphing into a review of both book and TV show.

What I think makes the book’s premise work is the juxta position between the two characters – Dash is cynical while Lily believes. This is what the Netflix show pulls out really well from the book. It’s the whole opposites attract idea, and does make you wonder whether they can successfully make a relationship based on words. In the book itself, you can tell these chapters were written by different authors as they have different voices.

As supporting cast go, Boomer steals the scenes in the book with his energy. His so exuberant and I love it. In the TV show, the two leads rather outshine everyone else – particularly Lily’s boldness. I love the snark of the messages in notebook, as well as the hi-jinks it gets them into.

I have recently found out that there are two other books in the series. The question is: do I dare read them? I love this book so much, and I’m a little scared than further books will only ruin how much I love this one because they can’t live up to the nostalgic, traditional feel of this book.

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