Saturday, January 07, 2012

A New Task

Not a resolution, or anything, but let's see what happens when I try to blog every book I finish, instead of just the highlights.

First up, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares.  Another outing from Rachel Cohen and David Levithan of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist fame.  I liked that book a lot, but I think I like this one even more.  But they're hard to compare, because while there are some major similarities (alternating point-of-view chapters, a scavenger hunt-like journey through New York City), the characters and mood are so very different.

Nick & Norah was one long, intense, pounding night in the city.  That was the glory of it, and it worked really well.  Dash and Lily spend a week roaming around, never meeting, trying to figure themselves out through the lens of the mysterious pen pals they are to each other.  Nick was the sweet, sincere boy with a guitar of so many girls' dreams, Norah the smart, determined young woman that most girls become four years later after college.  But Dash is a snarly, ironic, bookish hipster, while Lily is a too-sincere, family-centered free spirit.

When you meet Dash and Lily, you despair of them ever liking each other--it's not that Lily isn't smart enough for Dash, or that he's not warm enough for her.  It's that they each embody not just the opposite of the other, but the fundamental elements that the other is missing, and maybe most afraid of.  And maybe you start out thinking Dash is a snob and Lily a freak, but you live inside their head and come to love them--and the things they love--and you just want to meet them and read about them and see them both happy.

I really enjoyed this book.  It didn't zip by as fast as Nick & Norah, but that's okay.  It didn't need the driving pulse or urgency.  It had its own introverted, tentative charm that drew me in and made me--ME, mind you, who is in many ways the opposite of a New Yorker--want to see the Big Apple at Christmas.  I think that alone says all you need to know.

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