“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.”
What a great way to start a book and what a great way to capture the reader. I was hooked from that quote and I am so glad that I took the journey.
Lily leaves this first dare in a red notebook in a favorite bookstore in NYC and Dash is the recipient. Dash - a brooding young man (sometimes called "snarl") that prefers to spend most of his time alone...going so far as to lie to each of his parents so that he can spend Christmas home alone. Lily loves, loves, loves the holidays and is saddened by the fact that her parents decide to spend Christmas in Fiji while she is left home alone with her older brother. The notebook is her chance to break out of her protective shell and learn some things about herself.
Through a series of dares the two develop a relationship and though the dares are an integral part of this book - this is a very character-driven story. Written for those that are 13 and up, this book uses above average vocabulary and seems deeper than what is "typical" behavior from today's teens (but what is typical). The authors trade off writing chapters (Levithan is Dash's voice and Cohn Lily's) and even the font slightly varies for each of the characters. What the book turns out to be is a love story, not the typical kind, but a love story to New York and to Christmas and to language.
This was a beautifully written book and I was truly sad when I reached the last page. From the cover to the gorgeous words to the last sentence, this was an absolute pleasure to read. This is the third book from writing partners Cohn and Levithan ("Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" and "Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List"). This is the first book that I have read written by this duo, but I did see the movie adaptation of "Nick and Norah..." and was smitten. I heard this book has already been optioned for the Hollywood treatment - I am hoping they do it justice. Run and pick this one up sooner rather than later.