Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares

Title: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares 
Authors: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan 
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers 
Publication Date: October 2010 
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel 
Summary: “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 New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & 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 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? Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own. (From the Hardcover edition according to GoodReads.) 
What I Think: This book is one of my favorite love stories. Maybe it's because I love the idea of a mysterious secret admirer leaving notes and going on treasure hunts but I'm pretty sure I love the writing as much as I love the plot. I'm a huge fan of writing that is smart and witty and edgy and real all at the same time. Wait, now that I'm thinking of it, I love the setting of this book - New York (well, the city part mainly) during winter. Living north of Chicago, I have grown up loving going down to the city but have never lived in the city. I take any chance I can get to be downtown though and would love to actually live in the city. AND, guess what? I do love the characters, too. Lily actually reminds me a bit of myself. She's such an optimist and she has a great spirit. I think I love this book because it hits a homerun for me in all the story elements. 
I've come to identify with myself more as a writer lately after blogging more and doing guest posts and actually working on my NaNoWriMo this year (even though I didn't win) and I like that this book is about expressing yourself through writing. Writing is such a personal endeavor and it was fun to read about how Dash and Lily are able to express their feelings to each other through writing. I feel like their relationship develops in such a unique way because of the notebook. It makes me realize the power of our words when written.
If you are looking for a Christmas-y or snowy kind of love story, this is it. I love this book and will be going back to it for years to come around this time of year, I'm sure.  
Read Together: 9 - 12
Read Alone: 9 - 12 
Read With: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
Snatch of Text: "It wasn't as easy as that, though. I got down to the main floor and Santa's Wonderland, and the line was at least ten classrooms long. Children lolled and fidgeted while parents talked on cell phones or fussed with strollers or teetered like the living dead. 
     Luckily, I always travel with a book, just in case I have to wait on line for Santa, or some such inconvenience. More than a few of the parents - especially the dad - gave me strange looks. I could see them doing the mental math - I was way too old to believe in Santa, but I was too young to be after their children. So I was safe, if suspicious."

"Prayer or not, I want to believe that, despite all evidence to the contrary, it is possible for anyone to find that one special person. That person to spend Christmas with or grow old with or just take a nice silly walk in Central Park with. Somebody who wouldn't judge another for the prepositions they dangle, or their run-on sentences, and who in turn won't be judged for the snobbery of their language etymology inclinations. (Gotcha with the word choices, right? I know, sometimes I surprise even myself.
     Belief. That's what I want for Christmas. Look it up. Maybe there's more meaning there than I understand. Maybe you could explain it to me?" 
(I don't have page numbers because I read this on my Nook.) 
Mentor Text For: Word Choice, Voice, Characterization,  
Topics Covered: Holidays, Hope, Friendship, Family, Adventure, Love, Trust, Taking Risks, Creativity, Writing

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