Published: October 2011
Genre: young adult, romance, holiday
“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”
Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a cosmic mismatch of disastrous proportions?
Dash, a snarly word buff who’s done with the whole concept of Christmas, stumbles across a red notebook next to his favorite books at The Strand. The directions inside send him all over the store to solve a riddle and answer a dare. Intrigued, he follows through, and waits his next turn. Lily, the instigator and lover of all things festive, continues with the red notebook dares, thrilled to have something to look forward to while her immediate family is away for Christmas. Soon enough, the daily interactions between Dash and Lily across NYC leave them wondering: do they want to meet in person, or would that destroy their notebook persona?
This is a teen rom-com if I ever read one. There are moments in this book that are outrageously hilarious and entirely implausible, and yet it’s so perfect for who Dash is and for who Lily is that it simply works. It’s like online dating, only a bit more fun, organic, and mysterious. Dash and Lily don’t know one another, yet their interactions through the notebook reveal their strengths and weaknesses, their hopes and dreams, successes and failures. They’re their true selves — albeit somewhat edited (because, heck, sometimes writing/speaking to a perfect stranger is easier than face-to-face confrontations) — are in that notebook. Their fear of shattering it and desire to genuinely meet war within, and it’s exciting!
A short holiday read, perfect with cookies and cocoa. It made me wish to visit NYC again in the winter, and that’s saying something!