Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares - Rachel Cohn, David Levithan 4 starsView full review here!I started reading this book yesterday around 10 in the evening and I think it was 4 in the morning when I finished. I Just Could Not Put It Down. It was the sweetest mix of romance, humor and insightfulness that reminded me of Let It Snow and Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes.The story revolves around Lily, the sweet, optimistic, Christmas-loving odd girl who spends most of her time with family; and Dash, the smart, bookish, Christmas-hating hipster who prefers to be alone. Set in New York around Christmas time, Lily and Dash are strangers to each other, but that changes once Dash finds a red notebook filled with dares at The Strand, left by Lily. They start an ongoing exchange of dares and thoughts that takes them through the entire city. But they have to figure out if the notebook is more than just a projection of their ideas and wishes.I personally love it when two authors write a book together, but this one was especially great because I loved their process of writing: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan wrote the book the same way their characters did (Rachel being Lily and David being Dash, obviously): by sending it to each other without knowing what the other would write and what would happen next. I mean, that is just all kinds of awesome! I want to do that!!Now, the entire setting breathes light romance, which was just what it was. It was cute. A book you want to read on a cold winter's day when you're snuggled up on the couch under a blanket. Dash and Lily were cute. They are those kind of characters you can't help but like, though I liked Dash a little more than Lily. And I loved Boomer! I want him to be my friend--or dog.Though the love story was light, I liked the fact that Dash and Lily were very different. It made everything a bit more unpredictable. I loved how the notebook changed them and changed their thoughts. But throughout the book I couldn't help but wonder why they liked each other. I get that sharing a notebook with your deepest thoughts can be exciting, but they didn't know each other AT ALL. And I think Lily liked Dash more than Dash liked Lily. Was he really interested in her? Or just good at writing his thoughts down? Oh well, I like to imagine (spoiler..?) that they'll end up staying together for multiple years, and Dash coming to Lily's house for dinner when her entire family is there, and they are the cutest couple ever.I've heard people say that these characters (mostly Dash) were too pretentious, too smart for their age. Maybe that is true. But I love it when characters are insightful and intelligent. It provides for great thinking--and even greater quotes. My favorite:"We are reading the story of our lives, as though we were in it, as though we had written it."No wait, that was Mark Strand. This was my very favorite:"But isn't this a dance? Isn't all of this a dance? Isn't that what we do with words? Isn't that what we do when we talk, when we spar, when we make plans or leave it to chance? Some of it's choreographed. Some steps have been done for ages. And the rest--the rest is spontaneous. The rest has to be decided on the floor, in the moment, before the music ends."