In this post I am going to review the two books that make up the Dash and Lily Christmassy YA series written by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn.
#1: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares
Blurb from Goodreads
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.
At the urge of her lucky-in-love brother, sixteen-year-old Lily has left a red notebook full of dares on her favourite bookshop shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept. Curious, snarky Dash isn’t one to back down from a challenge – and the Book of Dares is the perfect distraction he’s been looking for.
As they send each other on a scavenger hunt across Manhattan, they’re falling for each other on paper. But finding out if their real selves share their on-page chemistry could be their biggest dare yet….
This was a VERY cutesy read that I felt was desperately trying to be quirky…. But instead came off feeling a little uninspired if I’m honest. As in the way the characters were set up. I could see many similarities with numerous other contemporary YA releases from the past number of years. So it didn’t feel fresh; far from in fact. It felt quite jaded really.
And it had one of my pet peeves in YA; that of needlessly absent parent?? Why are there always absent parents???? Honestly!!! Who leaves their kids at Christmas???????? Pfffffttttttt please…. I’m so tired of absent parents in YA. Is it just too hard to realistically write about parent-child relationships so that authors choose to leave them out???
And there was one Santa scene….. Sitting on his lap….. YUCK!!!! Creeped me the heck out!!! Just don’t do it. Nobody should mess with the innocence and joy of Santa!!!
I did love the premise though. The idea of finding a notebook in the bookstore is almost magical to me because it reminds me of this: Have you ever discovered something in a library book and have it feel like treasure? I’ve discovered letters and book marks with quotes…and it really makes me stop and think about who these other ‘readers’ were before me. What stories a book can tell us about what it has seen rather than the story within its pages….
What I did like though was the distinction between the character voices though. They felt sufficiently different but yet not so disparate that the novel read poorly…
But as I said earlier I almost felt like I had read this book before…
- the same clichéd main characters
- the conveniently absent parents
- the lame-duck attempts at tension….
This was just an extremely run-of-the-mill YA and although it had a lovely, interesting premise, which initially captured my imagination, it all too quickly became incredibly insipid and by chapter six I was bored and ready to be finished.
Sadly I’m gonna have to be a Scrooge with my rating and give it just two and a half stars.
#2 Twelve Days of Dash and Lily
Blurb from Goodreads
Dash and Lily have been dating for nearly a year, but when Lily’s beloved grandfather falls ill, the repercussions take their toll on everyone. Even though they are still together, somehow the magic has gone out of their relationship and it’s clear that Lily has fallen out of love with life.
Action must be taken! Dash teams up with Lily’s brother and a host of their friends, who have just twelve days to get Lily’s groove back in time for Christmas.
Ughhh… Where do I begin???
I didn’t really enjoy the first book in this series, ‘Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares’ so I hear you ask why did I read the second one??? Combination of two things.
- I’d made the dreadful mistake of downloading this BEFORE I had read book one… Oh such a rookie error….
- BUDDY READ!!!!!
Things are ALWAYS more fun when you can
piss and moandiscuss things calmly and sensibly with a friend!! So I read it for the buddy read really!!
But we all know why you’re here. For another one of my rants… Am I right or am I right?!?!?!?!?! So here it comes….
Well this book drove me NUTS!!!!!!!!
First off, Lily. OH Lily…..
Well she just turned into the most irritating, whiny character that I have ever had the misfortune to read about!!!!!
There is a difference between struggling with your emotions due to personal turmoil and how the character of Lily was drawn. The writing lacked subtlety, nuance, depth, heart. For all the emotional highs and lows that Lily was allegedly feeling there were no emotions emanating from the writing!!!!!!
I don’t know… Did he get neutered or something????? Just dull, dull, dull, dull, DULL!!!!! We were never truly shown what made Dash tick. The characters were sadly soulless and I did not care one iota about either of the main characters….
FYI. I cared even less about the supporting cast if that was even possible!!!!
Ah the storyline….
Obviously there had to be some sort of plot driver for the writers to give us this second book….
But instead of cliched and predictable DRAMA could we not have had a book focusing more on the ACTUAL problems of a relationship rather than inventing needless drama AROUND the characters.
There were points in this book that showed the potential of what might have been when Lily opened up to her mom…. …btw, the parents ACTUALLY APPEARED IN THIS BOOK!!!
Heavens above it was a Christmas miracle!!
So what I was saying… When Lily opened up to her mom about actual teenage problems this book worked. But sadly….this didn’t even last a whole chapter!!!!!!!!
*tears hair out*
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Where this book also fell down in comparison to book one was the cohesiveness of the writing.
In the original book the writing styles of the two authors blended together much more seamlessly. There was a clear distinction between characters but these distinctions complimented each other… A yin to the other yang if you will.
In book two both writers got lazy. Storylines from book one were rehashed / recycled / abused / misused…. Honestly.
A SEQUEL DOES NOT MEAN THE SAME EVENTS OF THE FIRST BOOK SHOULD BE REPEATED AD INFINITUM!!!!!!
GET SOME BLIMMIN’ NEW IDEAS OR GO WRITE ABOUT OTHER CHARACTERS IF YOU CAN’T!!!!
The cute scavenger hunt type escapade throughout NYC was repeated again in this book….
But in a MUCH less cute way and then…….
IT WAS ESSENTIALLY REPEATED ALL OVER AGAIN…...
What was cute and adorable once, is not cute and adorable for the billionth bloody time!!!!!
This book was such a struggle to finish. All I wanted to do it was fling it across the room in annoyance…
But I’m not going to abuse my kindle like that….
What should have been a cute and fluffy read seemed to drag on endlessly and was a real test for maintaining normal blood pressure!!
It was predictable, trite and where maybe it could have been saved by really likeable characters, they became just pastiches at best.
And then when finally it was all over I almost didn’t even realise it, as it ended with such a whimper.