Two teens in Manhattan really love each other, but they have trouble letting each other know.
Of course Dash loves Lily, but he doesn’t bother to say so, even though the white teens are officially boyfriend and girlfriend. Christmas is coming, and Dash knows that Lily adores the season, but she’s been depressed ever since her beloved grandfather had a heart attack. Lily just can’t seem to get excited and doesn’t even bother to get a tree, so Dash steps in to pick out the best tree available. Shortly after the annual tree-lighting party, usually arranged by Lily but not this year, Lily decides to go out walking in Manhattan and doesn’t bother to come home for the night. Dash and her brother go out looking for her and find her, but the same thing happens just a few days later. Finally Dash goes to extreme lengths to make Lily happy, while Lily despairs because Dash has never told her he loves her. Returning to their characters six years after Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (2010), Cohn and Levithan write with verve and plenty of wry comedy (“you are but a romantic sapling. I am a sequoia,” pontificates Lily’s great-aunt, Mrs. Basil E.), but this is as much a character study of Dash and Lily as it is a romance. However, character development and enjoyable prose overwhelm the rather skimpy plot, which consists mostly of Lily’s angst-driven episodes and Dash’s attempts to resolve them.
Intriguing characters and splendid writing mitigate the lightweight plot. (Romance. 12-18)