January 26, 2017
The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily - Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Title: The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily
Author: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: gifted from ALA annual
About: Dash and Lily have had a tough year since they first fell in love among the shelves of their favorite bookstore. Lily’s beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition.
With only twelve days left until Christmas—Lily’s favorite time of the year—Dash, Lily’s brother Langston, and their closest friends must take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the unique holiday magic of a glittering, snow-covered New York City in December.
So, I reread Dash & Lily's Book of Dares before picking up this new one. I'm a sucker for a good Christmas story and I hadn't read it in a few years. Unfortunately for me, distance didn't do that one any favors. I still liked it, but it's just so effing twee that it's almost unreal. She wears old majorette boots WITH TAPS ON THE BOTTOM all over the city. Never mind being annoying as hell, can you imagine how many times she would have busted her ass? Anyway, I probably would have rated it four stars at my initial read, but now I bumped it down to a three and I had no idea how Twelve Days was going to stack up. Good news - this one loses some of the cutesy garbage from the first one, mostly because it centers on Lily's inability to find her holiday spirit. Now, I am a self-admitted crazy person when it comes to Christmas.
I am responsible for picking out my family's Christmas trees, I have a lighting diagram, I create a winter freaking wonderland in my mind and try to project it outward onto anyone around me. My sister still talks about the Year Britt Couldn't Find Her Christmas Spirit, so I could definitely relate to Lily. (It was bleak, I'm not going to lie to you.)
Anyway, I love that this book finds Dash and Lily a year from the first book and in a totally different place. Lily's been kind of bummed - her grandfather had a heart attack and she's facing her family at a crossroads. Her brother's about to move out, her grandpa needs more care than they can provide for him themselves, and her parents are talking (read: fighting) about moving to *gasp* Connecticut. And Lily just can't find it within herself to give a crap about Christmas.
It's disturbing to everyone, but mostly Dash and Lily's brother Langston, who concoct a plan to bring Lily's Christmas mojo back. But it doesn't work. And then it does. And then it doesn't again. A big part of Dash and Lily's problems is that they're bad at communication. Dash is trying so hard to do all the right things, but he does them and leaves because he wants to give Lily this time with her family. Lily just wants Dash's time and to feel like he loves her (even though he's never said it). You guys, they don't talk about it for SO LONG. I hate when things can be solved with a simple conversation, but they aren't. I just wanted to sit these two down on a bench and be like TALK! TO! EACH! OTHER! I loved the scavenger hunts they sent each other on though, that was a great nod to the first book.
The one thing I really took issue with in this book was Boomer. He seems so much dumber in Twelve Days. Like having to literally spell out the most basic instructions, whereas in the first book he was just kind of goofy and offbeat? He was Amelia Bedelia levels of confused all the time and it was annoying.
More than anything The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily is a book about change. Being obstinate to change and finally accepting that change is a part of life and not always a bad thing. Which is a thing I think we all need to be reminded of from time to time. I'm really glad we got to revisit these two and see where they wound up a year later, just in time to spend another Christmas with them.