Romance Isn’t Just for Girls in This Teen Love Story


Apr 14, 2016


There’s this weird belief, when it comes to books for teens, that romance is only for girls. Only girls get mushy and fall in love and stuff. But if that were the case, love stories would only be about lesbians. Guys get mushy and fall in love and stuff, too. They just have to hide it because, you know, guys don’t talk about it except in books for girls.

To which I say: Ha!

Just read Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares and see for yourself how romance has no sole proprietorship. Within the love story, there are also the stories of a boy and a girl, written respectively by authors David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, which show how it takes two to make a romance.

When the book opens, Dash and Lily don’t know each other. And they might never have, had Lily’s older brother not convinced Lily to challenge a stranger to a dare by leaving clues in a red notebook left on a shelf in a bookshop.

Dash and Lilys Book of Dares Rachel Cohn David Levithan teens romance love book reviewSixteen-year-old Lily is the youngest of an enormous extended family that has always coddled her, and she hates the fact that her cozy, family Christmas is gone this year as her parents swan off on a second honeymoon. So she’s moping. She wants attention, but her brother, who is looking after her, wants her out of his hair, for he would prefer to spend the time with his boyfriend.

Dash has nothing much to do over Christmas either. His parents are divorced, and he would rather be gloriously home alone. When he finds the red notebook in the bookstore, he decides he may as well accept the challenge. But after he completes his task, he leaves a dare for Lily. Who leaves a dare back for him. And as days pass, the two of them get to know each other in the deepest possible way, by writing in the red notebook and passing it back and forth.

They also get to know themselves in ways they never knew were possible, because each dare takes them out of their selves, making everything come alive. So Dash, who is not exactly a fan of families, finds himself doing family-ish stuff among other things, and Lily, who seems as though she’ll never be anyone but the youngest, most protected person in an enormous family, suddenly finds herself doing things as an individual.

And then they meet – and don’t quite gel. So what happens to that strange connection they felt when they wrote in that red notebook?

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares is an unusual teen love story, starring teenagers who are unusual people who think they don’t quite fit in the world, and then realise that the world is quite ready to fit in with them. If you’re 14 or over, girl or boy, read it. You may find that it’s your book.


Written By Kushalrani Gulab

Kushalrani Gulab is a freelance editor and writer. She claims she reads children’s literature to find the best books for her nieces and nephews, but actually it’s to find the best books for herself. (She also reads and reviews books for older people.)


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