Cohn, Rachel and Levithan, David. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
Copy Provided by Bookworm Readers!!!
Dash finds a red moleskine notebook in The Strand bookstore in New York City. In it, there are clues to find in books, and instructions (since Dash meets all the criteria) to leave his e-mail address in a book at the desk. He ups the stakes and leaves a clue for Lily, who left the notebook, to follow. This starts an interesting give and take wherein the two leave the notebook at various NYC landmarks and learn more about each other through exchanging journal entries. Eventually, they have an anti-cute meet, but recover from that and decide that they can, in fact, hang out together. A very philosophical work about expectations, relationships, and how to find a kindred spirit in a confusing world.
Strengths: Brilliantly written, wonderful characters, vibrant setting. Got the clever Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett reference and adored the vicarious romance in (for an Ohio girl) an exotic setting. As a teen, I would have had a HUGE literary crush on Dash.
Weaknesses: Made me very, very, very angry, because the gratuitous f-bombs with which the book is littered make it unsuitable for middle schoolers. Or anyone, although I'll probably send this book on to the high school. See rant below.
Rant: I've said it before. There is NO excuse for using the f-bomb in ANY book. It doesn't make it realistic or cutting edge or current. It's just lazy. And vulgar. And unimaginative. Let's throw in sophomoric as well.
A young (Okay, Teacher Ninja-- she was old enough to know better!) actress recently got herself in trouble for inadvertently letting this word fly in the middle of her acceptance speech. This indicates to me that she is in the habit of using this word. This is not okay. My high school daughter recently received a text from a young gentleman full of foul words. If these words are appearing in young adult literature, it gives their use validity.
There are a few books in my collection which use this word for various reasons. This book threw it around much too casually, and it is my opinion that this casual use ruined an exceedingly fine story which I would otherwise have been pleased to share with my students.
ARGH!!! I'm just saying "no".