BOOK Review: ‘Dash & Lily’s ‘Book of Dares’

By Valerie Bustamante


When I have the chance I like to make lists of books I want to read next.

It’s really become a personal thing to do just because I like exploring the different adventures within the pages of words. I like to call it “Val’s Book List,” sort of like a bucket list for books.

It so happened when I went to Barnes & Noble one afternoon this bucket list of books was what helped me get my hands on the story of Dash and Lily. Although the sales associate was probably pulling her hair out because she could not find it at all, it was worth waiting and waiting for her to finally discover it because not once did I want to lay it down after purchasing it.

The book consists of handwritten notes and dares scribbled in a red moleskin notebook; they are the conversations of two unseen friends, Dash and Lily. The young teenagers are unseen friends to each other because they have actually never met one another in person. Yet they pour out personal memories to each other, which not once they had ever shared before with others. It is as if they have known each other for years.

While exploring the numerous shelves of used books at his favorite bookstore “The Strand,” Dash uncovers a red moleskin journal with a blank spine and only the words “DO YOU DARE?” written in Sharpie on Scotch tape posted to the cover. When Dash opens it up, a whole new secret life begins of adventure. This moleskin consists of going through the bookstore and trying to uncover the clues mystery girl Lily leaves behind.

“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” is where the start of a quite odd relationship begins between these two strangers.

Just near the bookstore, Lily is contemplating the project her older brother, Logan, and his new boyfriend have made for her. Logan has put in Lily’s moleskin different challenges, in hopes of trying to give his sister’s depressing winter break a spark of excitement and finally maybe even a boyfriend. Of course with little faith in her older brother, Lily believes it’s just a ridiculous waster of time. Until when she goes to pick up the red moleskin and instead of finding the end of this just-started project, it is indeed the beginning of embarrassing dares that brings her close to a boy she spends more time thinking about even though she has never laid her eyes on him.

The sticking of a hand inside a sweaty Santa suit, dancing alone at a Jewish punk-rock concert and definitely getting out of comfort zones is what Dash and Lily bring through their journal of dares. As they circle throughout New York City leaving the moleskin in places, so one can pick up where the other left off, creating new passion that both teens are needing in their own lives. With the help of this red moleskin notebook, Dash and Lily uncover new things about each other, bringing them closer and closer each day of winter break in hopes of actually meeting someday.

“Book of Dares” is all sorts of on-the-seat emotions as you flip the pages wanting more and more. It’s a bunch of strong opinions, smart-aleck vocabulary, and love in a whole book.

From the bestselling authors of Nick and Norah’s Infinite play list, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan come together once again to bring together two individuals that maybe were never supposed to meet in the first place, but end up doing so in a new twist.

Instead of bringing together two individuals through social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, Cohn and Levithan take advantage of the old form of handwritten entries back and forth, creating a shaky foundation for our two main characters.


What if the only connection these two have is just the red moleskin? Could it actually be possible to connect to each other outside of the journal?

After finishing the Book of Dares, I’ve been quite enticed to see what would happen if I left a moleskin journal somewhere to be found, would it turn into an adventure like Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares?  Valerie Bustamante


E-mail Bustamante at


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