“Dash and Lily”: The book on which the Netflix series is based


Dash and Lily is a new series that will be broadcast on Netflix. It tells the story of a boy and a girl (played by Austin Abrams and Midori Francis) who communicate through a notebook of the brave ones who leave them in different places in New York City. Like earlier Netflix YA content before him, such as 13 Reasons Why and To All the Boys I Loved Before, Dash and Lily is based on a book.

Dash & Lily’s book Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (co-authors of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist), first published in 2011. The official summary shows us that the Netflix show is a fairly close adaptation of the novel: “16-year-old Lily left a red notebook full of challenges on her favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right person to come along and take a chance. Dash, who is in a bad mood on vacation, happens to be the first man to pick up the notebook and take on the challenge.

“What follows is a whirlwind romance in which Dash and Lily exchange bets, dreams and wishes with the notebook, which they push back and forth to places all over New York City. But can their personalities connect as well as their notebook versions, or will their scavenger hunt end in a comic disparity of catastrophic proportions?

The book contained a series of real New York locations that also appear in the Netflix show. At the center of both, for example, is the bookstore The Strand, a real-life store in NYC, where Dash must make a series of bets to find out about the woman writing in the notebook. By the way, this store had asked for help to survive during the Coronavirus as a business, so the publicity it is getting from this important new Netflix series could not have come at a better time for the store.

The book is the first of three Dash and Lily novels, and it was followed by The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily (set over Christmas after the events of the first book) and Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily (set in London), which means we could get several more seasons of the Netflix series based on these books.

When they filmed the Netflix show, Abrams and Francis were inspired by the book and connected through a notebook, as their characters met late in the series.

Francis told E! News: “We sort of kept a little notebook of our own, which we shared back and forth to reveal things to each other, just to get to know each other in a similar way as they were in the show.

“It was Austin’s idea, and I remember when you said that to me, Austin, I thought, ‘Yeah, this guy is so good at being like a nerdy meta-actor’, and that made me very happy.

The books are pretty unique because they were written together. When asked by Entertainment Weekly how that works, author Rachel Cohn said, “He writes a chapter, e-mails it to me, and I pick up where he left off, and so on. We have a basic concept in our minds when we start, but we don’t really make any plans as to how we want to get there, and we discuss the book very little as we write it.

Dash and Lily are now streaming to Netflix….


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