Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Cohn, Rachel and Levithan, David. 2010. DASH & LILY’S BOOK OF DARES. New York: Knopf. ISBN 9780375866593 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s most recent collaboration features two teens on a scavenger hunt through New York City. When Dash finds a mysterious red notebook in the stacks of his favorite bookstore, he believes the choice is simple. “You take down the red notebook and open it. And then you do whatever it tells you to do.” Intrigued, he begins following the cryptic clues in the hopes of meeting its author, Lily. The teens begin by exchanging dares in the notebook that gradually lead them to share their deepest disappointments and hopes. As Dash and Lily grow closer together through their written correspondence, they wonder if meeting in person can possibly match their expectations and if the person behind the words is really what they imagined.

One of the strengths of this novel is the unique storytelling. Dash and Lily’s story is told in alternating chapters. Cohn writes Lily’s perspective while Leviathan tells Dash’s point of view. As the notebook is passed between the teens, the reader experiences the characters’ individual growth before they ever meet face to face. Interesting secondary characters enrich the story and help unite the unlikely pair. Teens will enjoy the fast-paced plot and the serendipitous nature of the relationship.

Readers can extend the story by creating their own red notebook. Deciding which clues and dares to include in the notebook, as well as where to leave the book, would provide teens with an outlet to discuss their disappointments and dreams.

Other books written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan:
NAOMI & ELY’S NO KISS LIST. ISBN 9780375844416

By Kimberly C. Kinnaird

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