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Saturday, April 21, 2012
"The Fine Art of Truth or Dare" by Melissa Jensen
Age Group: Young Adult
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 wanted to love this book so much. I had been desperately pining for it for months and when I finally got my hands on it, I was so excited. And I liked it, it was adorable and had some really excellent characters, but in the end I was left a little disappointed.
I loved the time we spent with Ella and her family. That dynamic was fantastic and one of my favorite parts of the book. Her relationships with her dad and her grandma were so wonderful and you could really feel the love between them. I also really liked spending time with Ella's friends. Frankie and Sadie were such an awesome pair. None of the trio was perfect and that's what made them work so perfectly as friends. Their constant playing of truth or dare was fun. I think it's an awesome way to keep learning about your friends. And my absolute favorite thing about this book was Ella's "relationship" with Edward Willing, swoony artist from the 1800's. Sure it could be considered weird that a teenage girl has conversations with a dead man, but I loved these parts of the story. Since she was obviously not talking to Edward, and was really only having conversations with herself, I thought it was a great way to show her personal growth.
The thing that didn't wow me in this one, was the romance between Ella and Alex. It's not that I didn't like Alex. He was okay for the most part, though I felt like he could have been more of a man from time to time, but I just didn't believe his and Ella's relationship. Even though he denied it, I didn't really feel like he wanted people to see them together, and I felt like Ella deserved more than that.
I am such a fan of the contemporary genre in general and it always sucks when one of them isn't a home run for me, but even though it wasn't everything I hoped it would be, it was still a cute, fun read! And just because I wasn't completely sold on the romance angle of the book, I was still rooting for Ella all they way and adored all of the time I got to spend with her and the people in her life.