Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Full disclosure – this is my go-to teen/YA Christmas recommendation.  It has everything for me, New York (the ultimate Christmas location), a bookshop, lots of book-is references, a will he/won’t she dynamic and an ultimately uplifting feel.

Written in chapters alternating between Lily and Dash, it revolves around a red notebook through which they get to know each other.  Lily loves everything about Christmas – the food, the decorations, the rituals, but most of all being with her family.  With her parents celebrating their anniversary in Fiji, her Grandfather wintering in Florida and her brother inseparable from his new boyfriend, Lily has to find company in other ways. She leaves a red notebook in one of New York’s most famous bookshops setting puzzles and dares for the notebook finder and inviting them to reply in kind.  For Dash, Christmas is about waring parents and a split from the love of his life the previous year.  He finds the cheer forced, the rituals irritating and has no desire for company.  Perhaps not the ideal finder of Lily’s notebook?

Without giving too much away there are two further books in the Lily and Dash series – The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily and Mind the Gap, Dash and Lily.  Both continue in a similar vein.  There may be too many happy coincidences for some, but if you can let yourself go and drink in the Christmas spirit they will set you up very well for the season.

For a discussion of how they wrote the books try this article.

I can also wholeheartedly recommend the Netflix series – which is is pretty faithful to the book and very binge-able.