Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen

Title: The Fine Art of Truth or Dare
Author: Melissa Jensen
Publisher: Speak
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary Romance
Release date: February 16th, 2012
Pages: 380 (Paperback)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Source: Gifted
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Ella is nearly invisible at the Willing School, and that's just fine by her. She's got her friends - the fabulous Frankie and their sweet cohort Sadie. She's got her art - and her idol, the unappreciated 19th-century painter Edward Willing. Still, it's hard being a nobody and having a crush on the biggest somebody in the school: Alex Bainbridge. Especially when he is your French tutor, and lessons have started becoming, well, certainly more interesting than French ever has been before. But can the invisible girl actually end up with a happily ever after with the golden boy, when no one even knows they're dating? And is Ella going to dare to be that girl?

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare was described as Pretty in Pink meets Anna and the French Kiss.  Of course, being a sucker for anything Molly Ringwald and Stephanie Perkins, that had my interest instantly.  Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but I did enjoy the book nonetheless.

Ella Marino is just a normal teenage girl who goes to a prestigious high school on a scholarship.  Her family runs an Italian restaurant and she's obsessed with an artist that has been dead for over a century.  When she finds Alex Bainbridge's drawings tucked in his history book, she's convinced he's the one for her, but there are quite a few obstacles in her way--the first being social status and the second and most important being his queen bee girlfriend, Amanda.

I enjoyed Ella's passion for art and her constant study on this (fictional) man, Edward Willing.  Though it was fun at first, I found myself hurrying through the chapters that merely contained the letters he wrote to his wife.  I'd honestly much rather let myself be pulled into the developing romance between Ella and Alex and by the second half of the book, that's exactly what happened.  Alex wasn't what he seemed to be and the fact that he was telling Ella a few secrets about himself on the first day they hung out together made him a more likable character.  Of course, Ella and Alex weren't the only lovable characters in this book, either.  Frankie and Sadie, Ella's faithful companions stuck with her along the way and made it easier to crack a smile as you read on.

While this wasn't the most action-filled, intriguing story, it was still down-to-earth and enjoyable.  The honest relationships between the family and friends were worth the time invested in this book.  If you're looking for an incredible romance, I don't think this would be one of the first books I'd recommend, but it's definitely not going to be the last on the list.


  1. Thanks for this review! I first heard about this book a few weeks ago. The cover is what made me stop and look twice - it's so cute! I guess I won't pick this up in a hurry, but I'd still like to read it at some point. :)

    ♥ Ashley from booknook ♥

  2. OOh i love this title and cover. Great review.

  3. I've set my eyes on this contemporary for quite some time!! Though I'm a little disappointed to hear that it's not the most action-packed, intriguing book, perhaps I should get a simple cup of tea and have a peaceful weekend with this book :)