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Confessions of a Bibliophile

An aspiring writer and bookstore employee with an incredibly bad book-buying habit... I'll read just about anything (so long as it will appeal to my interests in some way), but my main loves are YA and sci-fi/fantasy. I also like quirky history and science books and will book nerd. A lot. Currently in the process of weeding out my personal library. Find me on Twitter @princess_starr or check out my YA book, Snowfall, on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240027

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares -  'David Levithan', 'Rachel Cohn' Out of the three Cohn/Leviathan collaborations, I want to say that this is my least favorite of the three. Which isn’t to say that it’s bad, but it feels so different from the earlier two in tone and characterization. It almost feels like they’re commenting on their first two books, but for some reason, I just couldn’t get sucked into this world as I did with Nick & Norah and Naomi & Ely.The thing is that Dash and Lily almost the complete opposites of the main characters. Dash is a little self-absorbed, but he’s more along the lines of self-loathing, “I hate all of you” type (he actually reminded me of Leviathan’s will grayson). Dash sets himself up for what feels like a teen fantasy—Christmas without the parents in New York!—but spends it going out to bookstores. There’s really no mention of his true love, the Oxford Unbridged Dictionary, until partway through his storyline, and most of his time without the notebook is spent moping over an ex-girlfriend who, apparently, he never had a chance with. In contrast, Lily is a shy, but engaging good girl who wants something to happen over the Christmas holiday. While I like that she’s not a New Yorker teen wiseass, sometimes her love of Christmas and quirky stories rail Lily into the Maniac Pixie territory. Yes, idea of the notebook was designed by her brother, but Lily seems almost single-minded to get Dash out of his holiday blues (despite her own) and teach him to see life in a new way. I do like that Lily second-guesses herself and how Dash must really think of her, but, the Maniac Pixie pops in.And while I do like the notebook as a plot coupon to send these two on a magic, whirlwind quest across the city (actually, this is an idea that I’ve wanted to do for years), I just never got the explanation that the two would fall in love. I could see Dash and Lily as very good friends, but the progression to romance seems a little quick. I do like that they don’t meet until three-fourths of the way in, and that it’s under incredibly awkward and realistic circumstances. Boomer aside, I couldn’t get a feel for most of the side characters. Lily easily explains that she has no friends, and aside from a few references to her caroling group, the only people close to Lily is her family. Which is a little different than most YA, especially since her family feels genuinely close, but I also felt that they got a little exaggerated. The overprotective grandfather, mysterious awesome great-aunt, the brother who’s annoyed with her, but will still give older sibling advice when needed…I wanted to see more of their relationship with Lily, not just showing up when the plot needed them. Dash spends most of his time avoiding his acquaintances; aside from Boomer, the only time we get see Dash with friends is a party that gets set up early on in the plot. Dash spends most of his time moping over his ex, Sofia, who he shouldn’t really be upset over, but they get a night of reconciliation and Dash is free to end up with Lily. What also bugged me is the use of New York. This is where I feel like Leviathan and Cohn are poking fun at themselves; the previous two books really used New York City to its fullest effect, making you really feel like you’re in the city. While I’m not decrying the use of tourist spots—Macy’s, FAO Schwartz, Madame Tussuad’s all appear—I just don’t get the feel of them through the characters’ eyes. Lily says that she loves all three spots, Dash decries them as being cheesy and touristy. Even the appearance of the gay club that’s been a staple of all three books felt like there were big flashy lights and OBVIOUS APPEARANCE IS OBVIOUS. Again, I’m not saying it’s a bad book. It was fun, and I did enjoy reading it. But as compared to Naomi & Ely and Nick & Norah, it didn’t hold the same depth and development as those two books had. It’s a brain candy read. (Mm, brain candy.)