Tag Archive | david levithan

Book Review: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Book Review: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Format: paperback

Published:  October 26, 2010

Genre: Young adult, Romance

Synopsis (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.” 

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times best-selling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own


Two teenagers, each facing the prospect of facing Christmas alone in New York City, embark on a city wide scavenger hunt involving a little red moleskin notebook. Dash, alone by choice, and Lily whose parents abandoned her to have their second honeymoon in tropical paradise, both find a new friend though this bizarre game of dare and possibly something more.

There was a lot I liked about this book, and a lot that I didn’t. I enjoyed the game. As someone who’s favourite episode of One Tree Hill is “Dare Night”, the whole concept of this book appealed to me. I loved the quirkiness of Lily’s extended family as well as the adorably almost puppy-like enthusiasm for life of Dash’s friend, Boomer.

What I didn’t enjoy so much was Dash’s pretentiousness. He’s the ultimate hipster kid – a little too cool for life, a little too well read dropping literary quotes like they’re going out of style. I enjoyed reading his thoughts and conversations but they lacked a little realism for me. The conversation he has with Lily’s great aunt Ida – it just a little too much for me. He was trying to be a modern day Holden Caulfield and he knows it.

I liked Lily’s innocence especially when contrasted with Dash’s been-there-done-that attitude. They were a great match for each other.

This is one of those books that if I were still a teenager, I think I’d love.


3 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository (paperback) / Amazon (paperback) / FishPond (paperback)


Five Things I’ve Learned From Books

“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something.”
and also:
“Life isn’t fair, it’s just fairer than death, that’s all.”

― William GoldmanThe Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure: The “Good Parts” Version, Abridged


“We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”
― Chuck PalahniukFight Club


“…talent means nothing, while experience, acquired in humility and with hard work, means everything.”
― Patrick SüskindPerfume: The Story of a Murderer


“Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough.”
― David LevithanThe Lover’s Dictionary


And one more for luck:

“Urban survival rule 22: Never annoy an armed man.”
― Kelley ArmstrongBitten


Book Review: The Lover’s Dictionary: A Novel by David Levithan

Book Review: The Lover’s Dictionary: A Novel by David Levithan

Format: paperback

First Published: January 4th, 2011

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Epistolary Fiction,

Synopsis (from Goodreads)basis, n.

There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.

If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the momentdoes pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.

How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.


This is a novel where the start isn’t really the beginning. The conclusion doesn’t finish the story. But instead, this book is more like a series of snapshots into a couple’s relationship. And each snapshot has then been placed in order – not chronologically, but rather in alphabetical order. I thought it was a very clever way to write the story. Each page is a new dictionary entry with each entry giving you a moment or a thought regarding the lover’s relationship from the perspective of the narrator. The narrator and his lover’s names are never revealed but somehow that just makes you feel more connected with the story. They could be anyone. They could be you. And I felt incredibly involved.

Levithan has such a beautiful way with words. This is the first novel I’ve read authored by him and I was captivated from the first few pages. I fell in love with the love the couple shared. And I shared emotions with them right though the story – livid, heartbreak, joy. I felt it all. And I loved how this book made me feel.

My one problem with the story was how disappointed I was with the ending. At the start of the book I felt like the author was inviting me in to be a welcome voyeur into this couple’s life. But then, when I was emotionally invested in them, he slammed the door in my face. Despite knowing that this is where the novel was going to end (we’d gotten to Z in the definitions) I still felt he owed it to me to give me a more definitive ending. It was a bit of a tease and right now I’m still a little steamed over it.

The Lover’s Dictionary is not a very long book. It’s only 211 pages and with every definition started on a new page and some definitions only having a few lines, it’s not all that verbose. But it’s a smart and witty story. I have to admit that some of the definitions used had me diving for the dictionary and had me wishing my vocabulary was better. And relate-able! There were many of the entries had me reminiscing over my own past relationships and feeling a kinship with the narrator. At times it was as if my own experiences which I could never quite find the words for were here in this novel – phrased better and with more honest emotion than I could ever hope to achieve.



4.5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon / FishPond