Thursday, July 5, 2012

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

Release Date: February 16, 2012
Publisher: Speak
Author Information: Website / Blog / Twitter / Facebook
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Available Formats: Paperback and eBook
My Shelf: Want to Buy
Pretty in Pink meets Anna and the French Kiss in this charming romantic comedy.

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?

I was expecting a light, cute contemporary romance, but this book ended up being so much more. The story was moving, and there was a great deal of character depth which is not usually found in YA contemporary romances. I was pleasantly surprised by this book, and I ended up falling completely in love with it!

The most compelling thing about this book was the characters, hands down. They were so realistically rendered and portrayed, and I adored the main character, Ella. She is a true kindred spirit and very down to Earth. After an unfortunate accident as a child, she has been left with a scar that has resulted in her having some insecurities about herself, especially her body. She constantly wants to hide away, where no one will notice her or her scar, and where she is free to relish her art and study more about Edward Willing, her artistic (and dead) crush. To me, the insecurities she has with herself are what make her character both genuine and relatable. While not everyone has a large scar, most people do have insecurities concerning themselves and their bodies, and I loved watching Ella slowly and realistically come to accept herself, scars and all.

Alex’s character is all about breaking stereotypes. He’s rich, intelligent, extremely good-looking, seemingly unattainable…. You know where this story is going already, right? Wrong! There is a depth to his character that is not commonly found, and I enjoyed piecing together the anomaly known as Alex. When Alex and Ella were together, they had a real connection to each other, and watching their feelings gradually deepen was a real treat. The romantic aspect of this novel, while it cannot compare to the romance found in Anna and the French Kiss (but really, what book can?? St. Clair=LOVE!), was delightful and adorable, and Alex and Ella’s relationship contained all the fluffy fun I was hoping to find.

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare is definitely a book worth reading. There were a few facets to this novel that I did not particularly care for, such as Ella’s over-obsession with Edward Willing and some teenage moments of angst, but overall, this was a well-written and beautifully conceptualized novel telling the story of how two teens found one another and learned to accept themselves. It is a ridiculously cute and romantic read that you should not miss out on!
A Great Escape

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