Arguably, the best part of the holiday season is the abundance of cheesy holiday romantic comedy movies that are released. Last year, Netflix released a TON of original holiday movies [the best of which are “The Knight Before Christmas” and “The Princess Switch,” don’t argue with me], and this year they did the same! The one downfall of movies, though, is that the plot line is also squished into only 90 minutes and, as a sucker for all things cliche romance, I always want more. Fortunately, one of Netflix’s releases, “Dash & Lily,” [based off Devid Levithan’s young adult novel “The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily”] answered my prayers.
Austin Abrams [“Paper Towns”] plays Dash, the introverted, much-too-wise-for-his-age male protagonist who despises the holidays due to last year’s holiday breakup. As he is moping around his favorite book store, The Strand, [and unsurprisingly criticizing the store’s managerial methods], he comes across a red notebook unusually wedged between the spines of the classics on the shelf. Just as he is about to complain, yet again, that the notebook is incorrectly shelved, he notices the words “Do you dare … ?” handwritten on the front. Immediately, Dash is intrigued and he sets off on a scavenger hunt throughout the bookstore based off of the clues left in the notebook.
Midori Francis [“Good Boys” “Ocean’s Eight”] plays Lily, the bookish hopeless romantic obsessed with all things Christmas [yes, I relate to her on a spiritual level]. Upset that her parents and grandfather have all left the city during the holidays, Lily looks for a way to bring some Christmas cheer back into her life. Together with her brother and her brother’s boyfriend, Lily jots down a few clues based off of books into a red notebook and scribbles the phrase “Do you dare … ?” on the front. She heads to The Strand, her favorite bookstore, and stashes the notebook between two of her favorite novels. Then, she waits.
The eight-episode series follows Dash and Lily as they learn more about each other without ever meeting face to face. Although I adore the main plot line, which is lighthearted and enjoyable and perfect for all things romance, it’s important to note the subplot that Lily experiences as well. As a shy and “quirky” [for lack of a better word] girl, has struggled making friends with people her own age for most of her life and instead prefers to spend time with her family. Throughout the series, Lily confronts her deepest insecurities and learns how to be comfortable in her own skin, regardless of what the people around her expect. Francis does an incredible job of portraying both Lily’s romantic growth and personal character development.
“Dash & Lily” is everything I could have asked for in a young adult cliche holiday romance, and would definitely recommend adding it to your watchlist for your next snow day!