12 Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Published: 6th October 2016Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Electric Monkey
Pages: 240
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Dash and Lily have had a tough year since they first fell in love among the shelves of their favourite 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 favourite 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.

I’m pretty sure I loved this book as much as I did the first one. This time we know the characters but we get to go on so many more journeys with them. The red notebook returns, Lily and Dash are as adorable as ever, there are emotions and feelings and humour and all the things that made the first Dash and Lily book so wonderful.

The influences of each other are evident in the sequel. Dash is softening his edges and becoming more relaxed about his life and things around him. Lily grows up a little and struggles as her idealistic world view gets shaken but Dash is at her side to help her recover. All the quirky family and friends are there to support them and be their own kind of wonderful as well.

I’m not doing very well in the way of actual reviewing because I just adored this so much it’s all just happiness and synonyms right now, but I will say that Cohn and Levithan really did a great job with this sequel. It has a purpose, it is set one year after the events of book one and that is important. It is also a great chance to see how the pair have grown up in that year, how life has affected them and they’ve affected the world.

I loved this book so much because one of my new favourite quotes came out of it and I did something wild and actually made a picture out of it (see below). Dash and Lily’s love of books is aspiring and Dash has such a way with words it’s lovely without being pretentious, it’s passionate. I’ve always loved Dash’s Dashness from the first time I read his voice in Book of Dares, but he is even better in this one because we get to know so much more about him and what makes him who he is. The same goes for Lily, and in a way this is a book for Lily, or at least with a focus on Lily, but this is also so much about Dash as well.

quote-fbLily gets a lot of my sympathy because she has a rough year that really shakes her idealistic view of the world. But her courage and commitment is commendable and seeing her persevere is wonderful.

There is more of a Christmas focus in this book, but it all still comes down to Dash and Lily and their relationship and lives. It’s gorgeous and heart warming and heartbreaking and so sweet! I really do think you need to read Book of Dares before this otherwise it is all lost on you. Well, maybe not, but you really should read book one first because it’s an experience on its own and is the groundwork for this book that needs to be laid.

You can purchase 12 Days of Dash and Lily via the following

Booktopia | Bookworld

QBD | Dymocks

Amazon | Wordery

Fishpond | Book Depository

The Very Fairy Princess by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton

Published: 18th May 2010Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Reader
Illustrator: Christine Davenier
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

While her friends and family may not believe in fairies, Geraldine knows, deep down, that she is a VERY fairy princess. From morning to night, Gerry does everything that fairy princesses do: she dresses in her royal attire, practices her flying skills, and she is always on the lookout for problems to solve. But it isn’t all twirls and tiaras – as every fairy princess knows, dirty fingernails and scabby knees are just the price you pay for a perfect day!

 

This is a fantastic little book. It caught my eye because of Julie Andrews’s name and I fell in love with it because of the story. Davenier’s illustrations capture Gerry’s spirit and the rough but styled illustrations show off Gerry’s world and her place in it with that touch of carefree unruliness she also possesses.

Gerry is a great character. In a way, she is wild and boisterous, but she does follow the rules at times and understands how to behave. I love that Gerry has no worries; she does what she wants and expresses herself in her own way. She is overly positive about life which is contagious even as you read, it excites her, she makes it fun, and she uses her role as a fairy princess to bring joy to her life and help others find it as well.

She is very supportive of her friend, even when she doesn’t believe Gerry is a fairy princess. She tells her that she sparkles in her own way doing her own thing. She brings her fairy princess ideals and logic to her world and adds her own sparkle to day to day activities, bringing even mundane things into her magical world.

Gerry is creative and expressive. She knows who she is and doesn’t let people telling her she isn’t something stop her from being it. She has a solution to problems and she makes the world work for her and her idea of what a fairy princess is.

There are some wonderful messages in this book for kids. Gerry dictates a lot of rules about being a fairy princess and these include things like ‘fairy princesses know when to take charge’, ‘fairy princesses are very supportive’, and even things like fairy princesses wear joggers and get dirty because ‘fairy princesses are practical’. The best message comes from Gerry herself when she proclaims that “you can be whatever you want to be. You just have to let your SPARKLE out!”

This is the perfect mix of teaching little girls it’s ok to express themselves and what they love, don’t be afraid to be yourself and don’t let others tell you who you can and can’t be. This is a wonderful book and it is nothing less than what I’d expect from the queen herself, Julie Andrews. There are many more great Fairy Princess books in the series which you should check out as well.

You can purchase The Very Fairy Princess via the following

Audible | Booktopia

Dymocks | Barnes & Noble

Publisher

 

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

Published: 11th October 2011Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Random House Children’s Books
Pages: 260
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

“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.”

16-year-old Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on her favourite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. Dash, in a bad mood during the holidays, happens to be the first guy to pick up the notebook and rise to its challenges.

What follows is a whirlwind romance as Dash and Lily trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations all across New York City. But can their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions, or will their scavenger hunt end in a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

I picked this up after hearing a synopsis of the plot, but when I realised it was a David Levithan collaboration I wondered why I hadn’t heard of it sooner.

I loved this story. I loved the premise and the treasure hunt, hidden journal, and mystery authors. I loved that it was innocent and fun and that it worked because of so many reasons. In the age of Google and phones it was a good old fashioned hunt with clues and cryptic messages that needed to be understood to be played properly. Respect for the quest and curiosity as the main propulsion.

Each journal entry offers more insight into either Lily or Dash and it’s clear how the two connect with one another. We follow Dash’s perspective and see his intentions and reasons, the same for Lily’s chapters, but we get a little more when we read what they tell one another and challenge one another to do.

I had a fleeting moment, very, very fleeting, where I compared Dash to Holden Caulfield but then I immediately changed my mind and reprimanded myself for thinking such a thing. Dash is Dash for many reasons. No one lets him get away with being a snarly sullen teen who *almost* judges the world and others as lesser people. But Boomer is his best defender, and others see right through him. As you get to know Dash you fall in love with him and see his side of things and love him more for it.

Lily has the same issues in a way. She’s 16 but has the innocence of an 8-year-old at times. She needs to be protected by the family for an odd reason I’ll admit, but her wide-eyed charm of loving life, Christmas, and her family is very sweet.

All the characters in this are charming and wonderful in their own way. Cohen and Levithan have done a wonderful job in this collaboration and you can see how they’ve created these amazing characters that are charming but not entirely faultless or too perfect either. The story is set at Christmas but isn’t necessarily a Christmas story. It is about two teenagers finding each other in a city of millions and connecting on a deeper level and finding something special in one another. Cohn and Levithan explore Lily and Dash’s lives through each other and it tells a wonderful story filled with adventures and surprises and a little bit of luck and the desire to take chances.

You can purchase Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares via the following

Booktopia | Bookworld

QBD | Dymocks

Amazon | Wordery

Fishpond | Book Depository

 

The Greatest Thing in the World

The greatest thing has happened this morning. After years of hearing about it, having publications dates pushed back again and again, Philip Pullman is FINALLY publishing his book The Book of Dust. Followers of the blog may already know my slight love affair and obsession with HDM based on the month-long tribute I did a couple of years ago, and this has been something Pullman has been talking about for years and I’ve been checking in every few months to see if there’s been any new news.

When I saw the article in The Guardian this morning I effectively lost my mind – as people on Twitter may have noticed – I even woke my sleeping puppy by practically shouting “Oh my god, it’s finally happening!”. I then actually opened the article and went on a journey of emotions with my hand over chest like a shocked aristocratic woman, tears welling up in my eyes and not breathing as I read. It was all terribly dramatic but I was so excited.

The greatest part is that we’re getting not one, but THREE, count ’em three books. It’s a whole new trilogy and I just cannot wait to get my hands on these books. From the details in the article they are taking place at various points in Lyra’s life. We knew already that it was originally going to be years after the end of The Amber Spyglass, but Pullman has said there will also be one from when Lyra was a baby. I can’t wait to see baby Lyra and a little bubby Pan!

The first volume is due out 19th October and runs parallel to HDM. Pullman has said that it doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it. “It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognise and characters they’ve met before.” Just the chance to return to Jordan College and see how Lyra ended up in their care is going to be incredible, I was hyped to get the book set 20 years after, three books is more than I could have dreamed for. With Lyra the focus of the first two volumes, volume three is going to be entirely new again and I know is going to be all kinds of wonderful. The sad part is we don’t even have a cover image that we can swoon over yet.

I think I could gush about this forever but I won’t. I am so excited it’s finally actually happening, just thinking about what’s in store is creating all sorts of theories in my head and possibilities. Oh my goodness, this new trilogy is going to break my heart I know it. October 19 cannot come fast enough! When can I preorder?

Aussie Day Giveaway Winner!

Giveaway winners

A little bit more delayed than I planned but it’s time to announce the winner of my Australia Day giveaway! Thank you all who entered, I loved hearing about your favourite Aussie things.

I have drawn the winner using random.org and I am very pleased to announce that the winner is

Michelle

The winner has been notified by email. Congratulations!

 

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