First thing to say about this book is that it was written by the same duo responsible for Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (yeah, the one that was made into a movie with Michael Cera and Kat Dennings). So that gives you an idea of the sort of story it is. Cute and quirky.

It’s the story of two teens – both of them book lovers, both a little bit socially awkward. The story starts in the Strand bookstore in New York, where Dash discovers a red-covered Moleskine notebook hidden next to Franny and Zooey (by J.D. Salinger, in case you don’t know). He opens the book to find this message:

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.

Dash takes the dare. So begins an unlikely correspondence between two teenagers who each, in their own way, have ended up needing… someone. Someone to talk to, be silly with, to draw them out of themselves.

Through this adventure (which, by the way, appropriately takes place over Christmas holidays), we come to know Dash and Lily. We find out what they hope for, daydream about, fear. How they see the world and their place in it. Over the course of their adventure we see them face up to the most important element of adolescence: the need to figure out who we are – and who we want to be.

Reading this as an adult was a nostalgic experience that reminded me of what it was like to have a simpler yet much more complicated life. I imagine that teens reading this book will recognize something of themselves and their own challenges in Dash and Lily.

It was an entertaining read – certainly easy to become drawn into. It wasn’t quite as good as I expected it to be – some of the plot points are a bit disappointing – but overall I’d recommend it for those who enjoy YA novels and are looking for a whimsical foray into life as a teen.

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