"Dash and Lily's Book of Dares" by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

If you're looking for a fun, lightweight holiday read, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares will hit the spot. Co-written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, the authors behind the bestselling Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, the book takes place in New York City during the winter holidays. I'll admit that I don't typically read this genre in the Teen Dept. The novel caught my eye because it takes place at The Strand, which is a really awesome used bookstore in NYC. They have over 18 MILES of books in their store, and I was lucky enough to stop in for a visit earlier this year (I meant to blog about going there, as well as to the flagship B&N, but it never happened. Sorry!). It's a truly amazing place full of books and people. The prices are pretty amazing, too, and they have hard-to-find out-of-print books (why I originally stopped in).

In the novel, Dash is browsing through the shelf housing his favorite author when he comes across a red Moleskin journal. He's on winter holiday, bored out of his mind, and attempting to hide from his least favorite holiday, Christmas, so when he picks up the journal and discovers instructions for a scavenger hunt around the store, he decides to follow them out and see what happens. The journal was left by a teenage girl named Lily, though it was her older brother's idea to do so in the first place. Lily is Dash's opposite: Rather than being jaded, she's in love with everything Christmas and immensely enjoys this time of year. When she pops into The Strand to see if anyone found her Moleskin, she discovers that Dash has created a new scavenger hunt for her to follow. The two wind up passing the journal back and forth and sending one another around the City without ever meeting, and readers can live vicariously as they travel to famous attractions such as the Wax Museum, busy stores such as FAO Schwartz, and even the "newest" Pixar film (which doesn't really exist, but fit in adorably). They form a friendship through the pages of the notebook, and suddenly, the holiday break is anything but boring.

I really enjoyed reading this novel. It wasn't heavy, but light and uplifting. Sometimes, it's okay to sit back and enjoy something funny, especially during the holidays. I also LOVED the book cover design. The title of the book is listed across two Street Signs, the Directional Arrow lists the two authors, and the Pedestrian Light has a cute heart on it. The inclusion of (heart-shaped!) snow added to the atmosphere, making it visually feel like a book wanting to be picked up and read at this time of year, preferably snuggled up with a cozy blanket and hot cup of cocoa.