Monday, 11 June 2012

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

Title: The Fine Art of Truth or Dare 
Author: Melissa Jensen 
Publisher: Penguin Aus 
Released: April 2012 
Summary: 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? - Goodreads


The Fine Art of Truth or Dare is a romantic YA read that is filled with a surprising amount of depth and emotion. I say surprising because going into reading this I expected it to be a light-hearted, funny, read with romance and shenanigans aplenty. And it was, to an extent. There was however some interesting elements at play that lent a real heart and truth to the story. 


Ella is a likable and genuine protagonist who is self deprecating, shy and has...issues. She doesn't realise her own self-worth and just how amazing she is, even though her two best friends are constantly reassuring her of this. The friendship between Ella and her two BFFs, Frankie - self proclaimed 'gaysian' and karaoke superstar and Sadie - a rich girl with an overbearing and fashion-challenged mother, is one of the highlights of the book. Another highlight would have to be Ella's loud and nosy Italian family. Coming from an Italian family who own's an Italian restaurant, much like the one in The Fine Art of Truth or Dare I found myself nodding my head and laughing at their antics quite a bit throughout the novel. The scenes set in the family's restaurant kitchen were like flashbacks to my childhood. 


I must admit I wasn't really sure about Ella's crush, or should I say obsession, with deceased 19th century painter Edward Willing. I thought it was cute, in a quirky-worried-for-her-sanity kind of way. I think the real draw to this book though is the romance between Ella and Alex Bainbridge, the popular and seemingly unattainable rich boy. I loved that he was a nice guy who still had teenage boy qualities. Meaning that he was prone to saying and doing stupid, incomprehensible things, like being in a relationship with a mean girl who displayed no redeeming qualities whatsoever. 


 Overall I was really impressed by this story and it has made me want to read more of Melissa Jensen's novels. The Fine Art of Truth or Dare is a heartwarming contemporary YA read about being true to yourself and those who matter the most to you. It's a story for those of us who didn't quite fit in at school or in life (the outcasts, the misfits, the undesirables) that gives hope by sending out the message that we are more than our outside appearance and that we should recognize our own value and beauty.

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3 comments:

  1. This looks like just like my kind of book! Thanks for the great review! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Aw, I've heard mixed things about this book but really want to read it still. I'm glad it's deeper than it seems.

    ReplyDelete

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