You may recall that not long ago I reviewed Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily and totally fell in love with these characters, so I was super happy to receive this tie-in with the forthcoming Netflix series (woot! now that’s going to be fun!) and find out how it all began. This first outing with this lovely pair of characters is also set at Christmas time so it makes for great timing as a gift book for a teen in your circle.
Lily is a sweet unsophisticated 16 year old not very lucky with boys and decides, on an impulse, to take her brother’s advice about casting her net wider. She leaves a gorgeous red moleskine on a certain shelf in her favourite bookstore with some cryptic dares written in it, hoping that just the right guy will find it and take up her challenge. Dash (by name and nature) is the boy who picks up the book and rises to the adventure. The ensuing development of their relationship unfolds over various dares and clues left for each other as they share deep thoughts and dreams in the talisman notebook. It certainly seems they are falling in love – on paper at least – but can their budding relationship work in real time?
The path of true love doesn’t always run smoothly as we all know and there are some tricky hiccups along the way with an assortment of equally delightful secondary characters helping – or at times hindering – the pair as their quirky game roams all across New York City.
I had already talked the first one I reviewed up big time to my ChocLit kiddos and will certainly be doing the same with this one – although with the Netflix series coming out I will probably not have to do so much in the way of promotion to those kids at least! It will certainly help to engage some of my more reluctant readers however and that’s always a good thing.
There is some bad language (minimal) in this one and certainly some scenes with drinking – but these are handled with good taste and a good subliminal moral tacked on – but just so you are aware if putting it in your library collection – probably for your Year 9s upwards, in my opinion.
I would highly recommend adding these to your collection for older readers who love some romance blended with some witty and intelligent writing.
This is my first encounter with Dash and Lily – and I’m in love with them! As it happens I had put this title on our orders list because I liked the sound of it so much – and as it happens, with a Netflix adaptation on its way – I was pretty confident my keen beans would also enjoy it.
Now I can’t wait to talk it up at our ChocLit meeting this week because I know for sure they will love it!! It may sound cliched but I make no apologies for that – this is exactly the kind of ‘witty and sparkling’ writing that thrills me. I gobbled it up over a couple of nights and it was just pure joy to read.
Dash and Lily have been a couple for around two years and now they are finished school, their lives are changing. Dash is accepted to Oxford – his life-long dream – and while Lily knows she will miss him terribly she in no way wants to hold him back. On the other hand, she is floundering somewhat with her options. Her dog-walking business, Insta following and dog ‘crafting’ skills are really taking off and she is very determined not to follow the generations of women in her family in attending Barnard College. When Dash decides to stay in England for Christmas, Lily splurges on a trip to surprise him (her doggy entrepreneurship is REALLY successful!) in what she sees as a truly romantic gesture. But as many of us know, sometimes romantic gestures do not realise themselves in quite the same way as we have imagined them.
There are moments of real disconnection and none of it is helped by both young people doubting their choices around their chosen paths. However, as both are super intelligent and emotionally aware, they are able to work out not only their relationship but their futures.
There is so much to love about this book! Firstly, I adore that while it outlines completely relatable problems there is none of the intense teeth-gnashing, maudlin introspection and egocentric thinking that seems to pervade so many YA novels. There is a lot of humour – and I particularly love the ‘punny’ expressions throughout – and these two as well as secondary characters are genuinely likeable. I also really appreciate that while the couple do have a physical relationship there is nothing overt that could cause problems with your younger readership and similarly, there is no swearing!
Your readers from around Year 7 are likely to connect with these two as much as I have and I highly recommend it for your astute readers who will fully appreciate the humour, the dilemmas and the joy of the narrative.