by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Age Range: 13+
Grade Level: 8th Grade
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
While wandering around his favorite bookstore, Dash stumbles upon a red notebook. He was confused because it was on his favorite author's shelf. He opened it, and thus begins his wild adventure with Lily, a girl who puts them on the wildly daring adventure through New York City.
I keep going back and forth with this book. I am not sure whether I liked it or not, and I'm not sure if I liked Lily's character or not. It was a well written book, don't get me wrong, but it just wasn't that good. I really wish it was THAT good, but it just wasn't where I was hoping this book would be at. I did have fun reading it, and I was always rooting for Dash and Lily's relationship, but I guess I was never that motivated to read the book. I think I read it more so out of boredom that actual interest in the book.
- I loved the dare aspect of this book. It was really fun to see them out their complete trust into each other even though they didn't know anything about each other. The dares were never dangerous, but for all they knew, the other person was a serial killer. I don't really get why they trusted each other, but I am glad that they did.
- The side characters were great. I liked them a lot more than the two main characters. I don't know exactly why, but I did. They were made to support Dash and Lily, but to me they turned out better than the main characters. I guess, they were made in a way that even though they didn't have much of a purpose other than helping Dash and Lily get together, they seemed more real.
- The romance was good enough. I was always hoping that they would get together because thats what you were supposed to hope for. It was not a very unique romance, but it was cute.
- I'm pretty sure it was just me, but there were points in the story where I got a Catcher in the Rye vibe. I don't know if that was intentional, but they did mention Salinger a few times in the novel. Let me break this down for you: 1. teenagers wandering around New York around Christmas time. 2. teenagers trying to figure themselves out. 3. meeting random people from their past for no particular reason. And I think that was it. Yes, it was very vague, but it happened, and I was slapped in the face by Salinger-esque writing.
- The main characters were just kind of blah. I didn't love them, I didn't hate them. They were just average. I did like Dash a lot more than Lily because he was a person who had read hardships. Lily was mainly just whiny, and that annoyed me. She was also a child, and I don't think that her mental stage of development reflected a 16 year old girl.
- The authors tried way too hard for the main characters to be relatable. It is YA, so they should be relatable, but the authors went to an extent that no matter who you are, you will find an aspect that you will connect with. It is probably just me that was annoyed by this, but it really angered me that they had to try that hard.
The Language: Lots of cursing. They frequently use the f-word, and I'm pretty sure the s-word
The Violence: Minimal at the most
The Sex: Very minimal.
The Drugs: One instance of underaged drinking. Alcohol references.