“Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares”, book vs. miniseries
I’m dreamin’ of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know... And thanks to Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares I got a glimpse of it through their adventures in New York. Since last year I’ve been waiting for the best time to read the first book in the trilogy, and I’ve finally been able to do so while spending time with the boyz (aka my husband and cats).
The book (which you can find here or via Editura Trei for the Romanian version) was written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, and it is the first one in the trilogy – along with The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily (2016) and Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily (2020). Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares was published in 2010 and it’s a very festive book about Christmas, but also about how Dash and Lily fell in love. The story takes place in New York, which is literally my dream city to be in the days before Christmas, walking through Central Park and taking pictures at every corner and hugging all the beautiful Christmas trees! (Maybe one day) 🎄
We make our own magic.
Ten years after the book was published, Netflix adapted the story into a miniseries, in late 2020. I didn’t get a chance to watch it last year as I wanted to read the book first, so here I am, one year later. A very sweet story, which does a very good job at bringing back the Christmas spirit that was once so much stronger (to be read: when I was younger and living in a non-pandemic world). Lily’s brother decides that she needs a boyfriend, and starts this crazy fun game which involves dares and a red notebook. 📕 Through criptic messages and funny challanges, Dash (Austin Abrams, recently seen in This is Us and Our Chemical Hearts) and Lily (Midori Francis, previously seen in Good Guys – comedy movie from 2019) get to know each other really well just by living each other messages in a notebook. And this reminded me about the time me and my now-husband used to be in a long distance relationship, exhausting the SMS text messages available on our phones, long before Facebook and Whatsapp were a thing. You really do get to know each other on such a deep level through talking hours upon hours.
The book is obviously easy to read, and very relaxing, as is the miniseries on Netflix. The miniseries is 8-episodes long, each about 30 minutes in lenght. It is a Christmas cheer in about 2 and a half hours of TV time. Beautiful seasonal music, as well as other very good songs (kind of like what you get when it comes to soundtracks in Netflix productions), decorations and snow! ❄️
But isn’t this a dance? Isn’t all of this a dance? Isn’t that what we do with words? Isn’t that what we do when we talk, when we spar, when we make plans or leave it to chance? Some of it’s choreographed. Some of the steps have been done for ages. And the rest — the rest is spontaneous. The rest has to be decided on the floor, in the moment, before the music ends.
If I may, I dare 2022 to be better. To allow me to see my family again and have meal with them, to take my mom to a concert and hug my grandparents. I dare myself to keep smiling and hoping that things will, once again, be normal. However that normal might look like, I’ll take it. ☺️
And now, for the fun part of comparing the book and the adaptation – here are the biggest differences that I could note while watching the series. Let me know if you have anything to add!
• Dash has a scene in the series where he recites a Christmas song instead of singing it, and I don’t recall this being in the book;
• Boomer works at a pizzeria only in the series, in the book his character not having a lot of a storyline which gets improved in the adaptation;
• I probably got this one wrong, but Dash lives in his dad’s apartment in the series, but in the book I cannot remember if the place he stays in is indeed his father’s;
• Lily doesn’t run into Dash on the street before they even start the book of dares; this is just a cute add-on in the series;
• in the series, Lily makes friendship bracelets for her school friends, which is not what happens in the book;
• Dash’s dad and his girlfriend, Leeza, are not coming back from their holiday, but the script changes this in the series;
• Sofia, Dash’s ex-girlfriend, doesn’t move back to New York; in the book, she only comes back to New York for a short time;
• Aunt Ida’s name is changed in the series to Lilian;
• Lily and Edgar only kiss in the series;
• Lily’s parents don’t come back from their second honeymoon to celebrate Christmas at home, but again the script changes this as well;
• Sofia and Boomer don’t end up together in the book.