Dash and Lily have experienced a challenging year in their relationship after first meeting at the Strand Bookstore. The honeymoon period is seemingly over and they’ve experienced some ups, but mostly downs after Lily’s grandfather has a difficult recovery from a heart attack. With twelve days left until Christmas, Dash – with the help of Lily’s brother and their friends – try to bring the joyous Christmas spirit back to Lily.
I had read Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares years ago and really enjoyed it so I was excited for this sequel. Unfortunately, for me, this whole story fell flat. It reads very young, especially Lily’s POV, and I actually would have thought it was geared for a younger audience except for the use of swear words and naively-worded implications of sex & drugs. The story and situations felt extremely contrived, and over-the-top cheesy. For example, Lily swears using “FUDGE! FUDGE!” but then wants to be “Naughty Lily” and drops the F-bomb, thereby freeing her more “rebellious” side. *legit had the biggest eye roll here while reading this part in the book*
I definitely preferred Dash’s POV more, but only slightly. The other characters, such as Boomer, felt like caricatures. I’m a bit surprised at the writing in this book, as these authors are not new to writing for young adults but the voices all felt like what uninformed adults might think young people are like. Appreciating the fact that Dash and Lily may be quirkier than the “average” teenager, but all of it just felt so forced. So many needlessly set up moments when one thing could have been said to avoid all of it.
I really wanted to like this more, given how much I liked the first one but this really didn’t work for me. It isn’t very happy or joyful for a holiday book and certainly left me feeling more annoyed than uplifted for Christmas! However, if you can overlook some of the cheesiness and moody feelings from the characters, then you might like this more than I did.