Another in the recent run of co-written books for teenagers, Dash & Lily is by the authors of best-seller Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Rebecca Cohn and David Levithan.
The real plus of these alternating perspective, co-written novels is that each character is so believably different because they’re written by different authors. Just like Nick and Norah, Dash and Lily are witty, intelligent, alternative types with a surprisingly solid, if…blurred, sense of self. Underneath the adolescent worries and trials you can tell they are two real individuals, who are well aware of what makes them different from everyone else, and each other.
They’re just still on the way to figuring out whether that’s actually a good thing.
Lily, aka ‘Shrilly’, is smart, excellent at soccer, and hyper-sensitive, unless things don’t go her way (hence ‘Shrilly’). As a girl who loves Christmas, the holidays without Mum and Dad is one of those not-going-her-way times. Lily’s brother Landon decides all she needs is a boyfriend and plans to hook Lily’s dream man by planting a red Moleskine in her favourite bookshop (the Strand) next to her favourite book (Franny & Zooey). Inside is a series of instructions to weed the weak from the strong, the incompatible from the grammatically aware. And that’s how Lily “meets” Dash (short for Dashiell, aka ‘Snarly’), who isn’t content just to follow some instructions and hand over his email, but instead to gives her a set of instructions right back. And thus we have the Book of Dares. Dash is a sarcastic thoughtful-type who hates Christmas so much he has manipulated his non-speaking parents so that he can spend this one alone.
Dash & Lily is sweet, smart, and very New York*. A Christmas-time story about teenager-hood and looking for love with some really likeable characters and fun storylines. – Steph.
*The author of this review has never actually been to New York. But she has watched a lot of Sex and the City.