Monday, December 25, 2023

Review: The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily (Dash & Lily #2)
By Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

To Sum It Up: It’s Lily’s absolute favorite time of the year, but the Christmas season just isn’t the same with all of the changes happening in her family. As much as Dash has tried to be there for her, Lily worries that things just aren’t right between them. Now it’s up to Dash, not exactly the biggest Christmas fan, to try and revive Lily’s holiday spirit.

Review: It’s been a hot minute since I read a YA book. It’s been an even hotter minute since I wrote a book review. And just to belabor the point, I last read a Christmas book in 2018.

So what prompted 2023’s sudden burst of motivation to do all the things? A strong possibility is the steady diet of self-help and business books I’ve been reading all year. It was time to switch gears, and what better way to do so AND get into the holiday spirit by catching up with some familiar fictional characters?

I loved Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares and felt a bit dismayed when I saw meh reviews for the follow-up, The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily. But it’s been such a strange year that I summoned some optimism and dove in.

First, let me say how wonderful it was, indeed, to read about these two characters again. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed Dash’s snark and Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s gift for capturing New York City’s incomparable character, especially during the holiday season.

I get why some readers viewed the book with mixed feelings. We quickly learn that Lily’s beloved grandfather has suffered a heart attack and is still undergoing a challenging recovery, with Lily insisting upon being his primary caregiver. All the time she’s been spending with her grandfather has not only meant seeing less of Dash, but it’s also put a huge damper on Lily’s normally indomitable Christmas spirit. Dash is trying to support his girlfriend as best he can, but sometimes Lily longs for more from him, especially with expressing his feelings.

I admit that at first, Lily wishing that Dash fit the perfect boyfriend mold prompted a small eyebrow raise from me because it came across kind of petulant in a, “Why can’t Dash just do X?” “Why can’t Dash be more Y?” way. But Lily learns from some older and wiser adults in her life that Dash can’t read her mind. That’s when I also called myself out for also being guilty of the same expectation. So then I applauded Lily’s character growth for its realism.

While Lily is understandably not the ebullient Lily from the first book, that’s not to say there’s not lots to love about this sequel, like anatomically correct gingerbread men, glitter-related injuries, the logic (or lack thereof) of Dash’s friend, Boomer, and the sage observations of Lily’s great-aunt, Mrs. Basil E. If you enjoyed Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, go ahead and give this one a read.

All in All: Just what Santa ordered in a Christmas read.

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