Dash is minding his own business over Christmas break, roaming the shelves of his favorite bookstore, The Strand, when he comes across something rather odd. It’s a red moleskin notebook that is daring him to play a game with its owner. After completing several tasks in the store, he is supposed to leave it with the surly man at the information desk with his contact info tucked inside a second book and wait for her to get in touch. However, Dash thinks that is far too simple so instead of leaving contact info, he leaves a new set of tasks for the mystery book writer to complete. When Lily receives the book from her cousin Mark at The Strand, she is shocked to see the guy who accepted her challenge has dared her in return. A little nervous, she completes his tasks and then leaves the book yet again for him. Thus begins Dash & Lily’s adventure.
Dash is the most unique male character I have read since…well since Nick from N&NIF. A self-proclaimed persnickety, bookish teen boy obviously wins my affections instantly. Add to that his sense of humor and the manner in which he speaks and whoa boy, I’m in love. His parents are divorced and literally don’t speak to each other so he has managed to get a Christmas holiday all to himself by assuring both parents that he is spending the holidays with the other. He intends to spend his days off with solitude and several good books, but Lily changes all that.
Lily wasn’t exactly what I expected. She’s just a quiet girl who enjoys soccer and loves the Christmas season in ways most teenagers have outgrown. This year, her parents have managed to ruin this holiday by taking a second honeymoon to Fiji instead of staying in NYC with Lily and her brother. A brother who is ignoring Lily in favor of a new boyfriend. All alone, she is trying to make the best out of this bad situation and finally break out of her shell a bit when she goes out on this adventure with Dash.
Watching these two go back and forth, connecting in ways neither really thought was possible had me so enraptured that I may have had this book hidden under my desk in class so I could read while I was supposed to be listening to a lecture. Whoops. It was so worth it though. This novel has everything I look for in a good book. It’s sweet, well written, good characterization, interesting plot, and has so much humor packed into it that I am beyond words to describe it. The only phrase I can think of is “laugh out loud funny” and that just doesn’t seem to do it justice. Especially when Dash gets in the room with Ms Basil E. Both characters seemed so real, that I can’t help wonder if they really are running around in New York right now. I must be on a fucking roll or something because I’ve genuinely liked every one of the past 10 or so books I’ve read. Considering how picky I am, that’s quite the accomplishment. This would have to be my favorite of all the books I’ve read this month…well maybe a tie between this and Pushing The Limits
For those like me, who loved Nick & Norah, you’ll find references in here that will make you want to run back to your shelf to re-read your favorite moments. If you liked that, then you’ll love this. I think this is a book that anyone will enjoy. It leaves you with a smile on your face and a hope that maybe we all aren’t as alone in this world as we seem. Seriously people, GO READ IT!
****Thank you to Harlequin UK Ltd for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****