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The Fine Art of Truth or Dare PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: The Fine Art of Truth or Dare
Author: Melissa Jensen
Publisher: Published February 16th 2012 by Speak (first published February 1st 2012)
ISBN: 9780142420904
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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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 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?

30 review for The Fine Art of Truth or Dare

  1. 5 out of 5

    Megs ♥

    Everyone keeps talking about that tagline ~"Pretty in Pink" meets "Anna and the French Kiss"~ I wouldn't describe it that way, but it was just as sugary sweet as those two. Truth: Was this book as good as I thought it would be? No. The synopsis for this book doesn't give much away and I love that. I'll admit that I read this one for the cute cover. So sue me. Ella is a kind of strange girl. Not in a totally bad way, either. She's obsessed with art, and has a crush on an artist from the 19th cen Everyone keeps talking about that tagline ~"Pretty in Pink" meets "Anna and the French Kiss"~ I wouldn't describe it that way, but it was just as sugary sweet as those two. Truth: Was this book as good as I thought it would be? No. The synopsis for this book doesn't give much away and I love that. I'll admit that I read this one for the cute cover. So sue me. Ella is a kind of strange girl. Not in a totally bad way, either. She's obsessed with art, and has a crush on an artist from the 19th century. His name is Edward Willig and he is also the subject she chose for a school paper, so she spends a lot of her time researching his life. I found it creepy that Ella had "conversations" with this dead guy and the crush on him seemed to be brought into the book more than the romance between her and Alex...weird. Hardcore fans of romance will probably enjoy this book much more than I did. I just found it cute and sweet, but nothing special. The writing itself wasn't bad at all, and the plot moved at a nice fast pace so it was never boring. At first I was genuinely interested in the story, but as it went on I became less interested and started skimming. I actually did like Ella as a character. I liked Alex too, actually, but the romance didn't really hold my attention. It felt like I have read the same story many times. I'd say pass on this one, sorry. If you love reading every YA romance or just have to see what it's about like I did then sure go ahead and read it. I do honestly think there are some people who will enjoy this book, but it wasn't for me. This book was mildly entertaining, but very forgettable. It's been less than a week since I've read it and it's already hard to distinguish this from so many other YA love stories. I personally think they need to stop using that tagline. Since Anna And the French Kiss is so popular I can see the reason they used it, but fans of Anna are just going to be disappointed I think. I anticipate a lot of future reviewers saying things like "I expected it to be soooo much better" if they go into this expecting AaTFK style of writing. Probably closer to 2.5 stars which is disappointing considering how much I liked the beginning.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Arlene

    Rating Clarification: Closer to 2.5 Stars To say I’m slightly disappointed in The Fine Art of Truth or Dare is such an understatement. This book has been on my wish-list for months! I had heard rumblings that it was a cross between Pretty in Pink and Anna and the French Kiss and all that did was increase my anticipation even more. Those were a movie and a book that I have crushed over and have probably watched and read at least half dozen times respectively. So I had nothing but excitement going Rating Clarification: Closer to 2.5 Stars To say I’m slightly disappointed in The Fine Art of Truth or Dare is such an understatement. This book has been on my wish-list for months! I had heard rumblings that it was a cross between Pretty in Pink and Anna and the French Kiss and all that did was increase my anticipation even more. Those were a movie and a book that I have crushed over and have probably watched and read at least half dozen times respectively. So I had nothing but excitement going on for this book. Well, after finishing this story, I want to sort of cry foul! Yes, there were small elements that you can say paralleled the movie I adored, but to such a slight degree and with poor execution that it’s really not even worth mentioning. As far as the comparison to AatFK... nope, I don't see the connection. : / It’s truly disappointing to see this YA book fall into the ever increasing pit of boring and predictable stories where good art cover and misleading blurbs hook you only to leave you hanging. The first 30 or so pages sucked me in - I’ll give it that. But shortly after, I felt I was being dragged through a torture session where the characters, plot, narrative and even the setting completely lost all of its appeal. I didn’t care for the main protags Ella and Alex. Not one bit sadly… I couldn’t stand the school Willing or any of the students that attended that pretentious academy. And, was I the only one that found it strange that Ella carried on pretty deep, meaningful (at least to her) conversations with a dead man that hasn’t been around for over 100 years? Did I get it right that she talked to a postcard image of him? So ridiculous that I felt I was wasting my time. Also, was anyone else perplexed about the fact that a scholarship student can ditch so often and barely be passing her classes, but still keep her free meal ticket to the school without one call into the Dean or Academic Counselor’s office? Lucky girl! But so not reality. Also, I felt it took forever for Jensen to get to the main point of the story. There was a long stretch of time… say 140 pages or so that I was beginning to wonder what the book was truly about or where it was headed. There was karaoke going on, research on a dead man, mean girl attacks, wedding planning, door knob painting, school dance planning… UGH the list goes on. It was like constantly trying to figure out how this would all come together. Exhausting really… However, what bothered me most was the writing. It really annoyed me that many times I felt I had either missed something important that was shared or I had possibly walked into the middle of a conversation. I can’t stand when authors make assumptions that we should get where they’re trying to go because… well we’re mind readers! No, it doesn’t work that way. It only serves to annoy the reader. Overall, I’m sorry to say that Melissa Jensen failed to impress me. Sorry, this one didn’t do it for me. At all... And, it would be unkind of me to dare anyone to read it. :/

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melannie :)

    Oh my! I need this NOW. I could say I'm the person most excited about this in the whole wide world, I bet everyone's excited :D! _________________________________ December 14, 2011: REVIEW TO COME... lemme just finish my swooning __________________________________ December 15, 2011: Official review: You know what they say, it’s not very bright to get your hopes up because you know nothing is going to be as good as you make it in your head to be… this book went past my expectations and up and up until it Oh my! I need this NOW. I could say I'm the person most excited about this in the whole wide world, I bet everyone's excited :D! _________________________________ December 14, 2011: REVIEW TO COME... lemme just finish my swooning __________________________________ December 15, 2011: Official review: You know what they say, it’s not very bright to get your hopes up because you know nothing is going to be as good as you make it in your head to be… this book went past my expectations and up and up until it made them look like little ants in the ground. No really, I loved this. I love this. The story is incredibly adorable and witty and deeper than what I could have guessed from the synopsis. Let me write you a quick recap. It starts off with Ella Marino, who gives us ordinary girls a compliment when she considers herself one of us, because let me tell you, ordinary she is not. But she believes she is and that of course leads her into thinking she is invisible at her school. Because you see, Ella goes to this school, Willing, where 95% of the population is rich and gorgeous. Ella has a full scholarship and a big scar in her torso that has her convinced she looks horrible. But my dear Ella also has a wonderful personality; she’s friendly and polite, but also very shy for the aforementioned reasons. She can be a little closed-minded when it comes to her flaws and I must admit I wanted to shake her some times. Then I remembered, she’s 15 and has a scar, people call her Freddie Krueger… can you blame her for being a little insecure? So anyway, there’s this guy at school called Alex, he’s rich, gorgeous AND nice; and as far as Ella is concerned, way out of her league. She has a twisted perception of how the world sees her, you see, but don’t be fooled because she’s pretty awesome. Where was I? oh yes, Alex, well Frankie’s only 2 friends, Saddie and Frankie, think he is a jerk that no way deserves someone as good as Ella, so they don’t approve of her crush on him. And that is fine with Ella because she doesn’t see that relationship happening and she’s used to that too because Ella is also in love with Edward Willing, a (dead) 20th century’s painter with an undiscovered life that she’s determined to unravel. Check out the full review (with pictures, and some Duckie from PiP goodness) on my blog: http://booksarevital.blogspot.com/201...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ari

    Sorry guys. Not sure if I'll review this as I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted. Note: this has nothing to do with the comparison with Anna, it just wasn't my cup of tea. The only character I liked was Frankie, nothing else managed to grab my attention. Hopefully you will enjoy it a lot better. Pre-reading thoughts: Oh heavens, did someone just say "Anna and the French Kiss"?! :D

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kaede

    I don't think I've ever been so uncomfortable with anybody, much less a fictional female character. I just really hope that I don't ever meet anyone who talks to a picture of a dead old guy like one talks to their boyfriend/girlfriend. It's just not right. And to take advice from him constantly?...*shudders* Now I could certainly settle for doing a bullet list for the things I didn't like and be done with it, but then it'd look a whole lot like this: Things I Hated: •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. I don't think I've ever been so uncomfortable with anybody, much less a fictional female character. I just really hope that I don't ever meet anyone who talks to a picture of a dead old guy like one talks to their boyfriend/girlfriend. It's just not right. And to take advice from him constantly?...*shudders* Now I could certainly settle for doing a bullet list for the things I didn't like and be done with it, but then it'd look a whole lot like this: Things I Hated: •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Ella. •Alex. I don't think you'd like that very much. But that doesn't mean that the list doesn't just sum up my feelings perfectly. Oh how I hated Ella. I bet you can't say, "Stereotypical character.", faster than I can choke our lovely protagonist to her death. And Alex. No. Just no. --------------------------------------- Q&A TIME ----------------------------------------- Q: Did you find any redeeming qualities where Ella was concerned? A: Why good sir, no I did not. Do you think you can any redeeming qualities when a girl-who-talks-to-dead-people-for-advice-and-thinks-she's-the-shit is involved? Q: If not, did you find any redeeming qualities at all? A: Actually, yes I did. I mean, dude, have you seen Frankie? He reminds me of Adrian. And if someone reminds me of Adrian, he has to be awesome. Q: Did you like Alex, the love interest? A: *disgusted face* (I don't even want to know how a disgusted face looks like...) Q: What changes do you think the author should make? A: Well if I were her, I'd first remove everything but Frankie. Then I'd open a copy of Anna and the French Kiss to see how a real contemporary is done. But sadly, the world doesn't revolve around me. *sighs* I might have to contemplate taking over the world one day if that's what it takes... ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Well, I think that's just about it! If you still insist of reading, I have only two words for you darling. Good luck. Believe me, you'll need it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Devyani

    From: [email protected] To: [email protected] Date: December 19, 6:54 p.m. Subject: Three Things 1. Truth: I’m terrified of an embarrassing number of things, including Ferris wheels, rusty nails, being alone, and being with someone. 2. Truth: I’m working on that. 3. Dare: Take a chance on me, Alex Bainbridge. Qu’ieu sui precieuse, Ieu lo sai.* Those Gifs out there truly show how excited and happy i was for when i came across it's ebook . this one had to be one of the most anticipat From: [email protected] To: [email protected] Date: December 19, 6:54 p.m. Subject: Three Things 1. Truth: I’m terrified of an embarrassing number of things, including Ferris wheels, rusty nails, being alone, and being with someone. 2. Truth: I’m working on that. 3. Dare: Take a chance on me, Alex Bainbridge. Qu’ieu sui precieuse, Ieu lo sai.* Those Gifs out there truly show how excited and happy i was for when i came across it's ebook . this one had to be one of the most anticipated reads in my TBR , obviously because of it's highly attractive tagline ... Pretty in Pink meets Anna and the French Kiss and because the guy's name is 'Alex' and lately i seem to have gooey fantasies about guys with this name . the thing that hurts the most is that while i could see 5 stars shining brightly on a neon board above the cover , while i was hoping for A LOT of swooning and a LOT of drooling ...i came across none . Sure it was a sweet book , but giving it THAT kind of a tagline probably made me set up the whole bar and level of expectations quite high. okay so here's the deal , We have Fiorella 'Ella' Marino as our quirky , insecure , shy and a highly relatable protagonist . She lives , breathes and creates art . She's obsessed with Edward Willing , a 19th century artist , art icon , imaginary companion and also the topic of her honors thesis . She goes to Edward Willing High School and is basically an invisible human among the vast population of rich , popular and good-looking people in her school with her two best-friends , Frankie and Sadie who she loves the most . i'll have to say that i found her annoying as well as my true best friend in some places in the book . her belief and ideas of love are something that has been almost every girl's way of thinking . Her little mentions of explaining scenarios by distinguishing between wishful thinking and reality was an absolute hit . for example i really loved this one here , “You mean you won’t sing,” Sadie corrected. I tried to be charitable about her treason; she goes pretty brainless around Daniel. “Ella sings really well.” “I’m sure she does.” Daniel tipped his beer glass in my direction. “In fact, I bet she could totally murder ‘Don’t Stop Believin’.” A song that is actually one of my guilty pleasures. I think he probably knew that. I think he probably had himself a lovely chuckle over it. Then he whispered, “Coward.” In another story, the plucky little heroine would have slapped both hands onto the table, making it wobble a little on its predictably uneven fourth leg. She would then have taken both hands, ripped the long scarf from around her neck and, chin high and scar spotlit, stalked to the dais, leaped up, and slayed the audience with her kick-ass version of “Respect.” Or maybe “Single Ladies,” for the sheer Yay factor. In this version, I gave Daniel what I hoped was a slayer look and busied myself refolding my napkin. i must say ,the author has done a stellar job in keeping it real ! and i adore it :) then enters our guy , Alex Bainbridge . Hot , tall , beautiful , Lacrosse player , Evil-cliche girlfriend of a year and a half and french extraordinaire . That's Alex for you . Now the thing is , Ella is quite a bomber when it comes to French . Hailing from an italian family , French is the last thing she cares about until it comes down to her grades , of course . Comes our dearest french extraordinaire to the rescue ...ta-da ! and that's how things to start to happen ..and thus our story begins . The Fine art Of Truth And Dare by Melissa Jensen , kickstarts with an awesome , hilarious start . i could see myself grinning like a pig in all it's glory because i felt that all my excitement and patience was finally showing colors . With hilarious conversations with Edward Willing and End of every chapter with a laughing fit , i could see the shining future of the book . Maybe i was just too fast . around the Mid-section of the book , it felt slack and almost boring . it felt dragged and there were times where this book completely lost me . Also i felt that some parts of the storyline was completely unnecessary . Like take Daniel's character (Frankie's brother) for an instance ! why was he even there ? what difference did it make ? Also as much as i liked Ella's character , i felt disconnected with her as well . Alex had to be one of those heroes who i couldn't even understand . i have this crazy impulse to compare between the lines . for an instance , You has Ettiene and Alex . You don't know much about Ettiene . You don't know much about Alex . Yet you swoon over Ettiene and gush about practically everything related to him ! while you feel disconnected with Alex and find him likable just for the sake of it . around this time Pretty in Pink had been rocking my mind as well . Blaine might have not been a favorite of mine ( yes i always vouched for Ducky ) but when he said those three magical words to Ms .Ringwald , i believed and had those warm fuzzy things flowing through me . While Alex's character is a definite parallel version of Blaine . i wasn't even satisfied with the things he said . infact , i was so detached ! i was almost hoping Frankie ( who i truly loved ) to come ahead and say that he's not gay and that he's loved Ella all his life and blahblahblahblah . or something like Daniel stepping forward and saying 'it was always you.' and so on . though the character of Edward Willing was a pretty sought out one . i felt that in some areas i was actually wondering and trying hard to analyze things as he spoke . because trust me , it became so dull i almost got confused and had no idea of what was going on . i also feel cheated because where were the French Lessons !? okay so there were one or two but it felt so bland and short ! i think other than the end which might i mention was one of the best things about the book , there were almost 'zero' Alex and Ella cute moments . but with the loose ends comes the sweet treats as well :) i loved Ella's grandmother ! her feisty attitude was definitely something to look out for . i was enamored by the story of Michelangelo Costa , Elizabetta and the sea . I loved the restaurant scenes with Ella's family . it felt nice , homely and warm . Karaoke bar . inner turmoil between truth and dare . Italian food . great music and art , are things that saved this book . as i end , i have this need to say that this book definitely had great potential . The ideas were fantastic ! mermaids , art , insecurity , Connolis , short girl and tall guy , cute moments that did make me smile and funny banters here and there , THE FINE ART OF TRUTH AND DARE by Melissa Jensen is definitely a light , hearty read . i do recommend this book but also advice not to set expectations TOO high . no , i'm not degrading the book . but while some may love it , some may go through feelings of disappointment as well :)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kassiah

    1-1/2 stars So...what to say about this book? Let's start with this: Whoever was in charge of writing the summary for The Fine Art of Truth or Dare should be fired. Or at least, his/her work should have to be checked by someone who actually read the book first. Because this: Pretty in Pink meets Anna and the French Kiss in this charming romantic comedy. is not this book. There's no swoony romance that has you on the edge of your seat, waiting for them to finally realize they're meant to be toget 1-1/2 stars So...what to say about this book? Let's start with this: Whoever was in charge of writing the summary for The Fine Art of Truth or Dare should be fired. Or at least, his/her work should have to be checked by someone who actually read the book first. Because this: Pretty in Pink meets Anna and the French Kiss in this charming romantic comedy. is not this book. There's no swoony romance that has you on the edge of your seat, waiting for them to finally realize they're meant to be together. There's no Anna. There's no Andie. There's no Blaine. There's no Duckie. And there sure as hell is no Étienne. (although, Alex has an accent, THAT IS NOT ENOUGH) Ella attends a prestigious private school, and is totally in love with Edward Willing, an artist who has been dead for decades. She studies his history and art and has a bust of him in her room that she has full conversations with. Let's totally overlook the fact that ELLA is in love with EDWARD for a minute. Or that Edward's dead. Or that he died in 1918 or something like that. Were there no other names for this girl to use? Does everything have to have something to do with Twilight? Anyway, I digress. Ella's family was cool. Her BFF, Frankie, was awesome. I mean, without him, I'd give this book half a star. I felt like I knew him; we got a glimpse of his character and what makes him who he is. I didn't feel that with Ella. I didn't feel that with Alex (who btw--wtmf?!? What was wrong with that boy?) I didn't understand what the hell Edward Willing had to do with this story. Really. Overall, I can't even tell you what the point of this book was. This was one of my most anticipated books for 2012, and I'm so sad that I didn't like it. I liked Daniel. I loved Frankie. I even came to like Edward Willing (a little). But that just isn't enough.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    Why is everyone getting all excited about '...meets Anna and the French Kiss'?! Sure, that's exciting but I can't help but feel you're missing the most amazing part of that tagline. YES.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Isamlq

    2.5/5 I was half hoping for more of Daniel when the book had ended. And then I realized that this one guy I had such high hopes for was more of a Jiminy Cricket than a freaking Prince Charming! I don’t like how this ended. There. I said it. I liked most everything and everyone prior to it: I did like her with her friends. I did like her with her family. I even liked her and her school with her not knowing if it was “the second best thing or the second worst thing ever to happen to her.” Heck, I e 2.5/5 I was half hoping for more of Daniel when the book had ended. And then I realized that this one guy I had such high hopes for was more of a Jiminy Cricket than a freaking Prince Charming! I don’t like how this ended. There. I said it. I liked most everything and everyone prior to it: I did like her with her friends. I did like her with her family. I even liked her and her school with her not knowing if it was “the second best thing or the second worst thing ever to happen to her.” Heck, I even liked her more in the archives, searching for bits and pieces about her first love: Edward Willing, (dead though he was.) Why? Because then she showed more confidence, she knew what she was doing and wasn't shy about it. It was about her. Now, her with him, Alex, I mean? That’s another matter completely. Her and everyone else The one good thing in here was Frankie, even if at times he did get too out there. I would have loved more of him in it because his home truths painful as they were… were truths. As said it’s her with her friends that I liked although much could have been done to flesh them out some more. Sadie, who sings or the Sadie, who is their buffer or the Sadie with issues with her mother virtually disappears close to the end. Or take Daniel the rebel, Daniel the twin brother: Ergh, why were you in the story anyway? Despite that last bit though here's something stranger: How come the little mentions of him had me more excited than thinking of Ella and Alex together? Her and him That bit where she owns up to hiding herself is true. But her conceding that he wasn’t (hiding her as well) felt off to me. Or maybe I just didn’t like how his character was first introduced. Sure if we were talking development, he would be the one to look at because from not knowing even her unknowingly mocking her then to otherwise. Well, I was of one mind with her BFF Frankie with his get over him and move on. I liked it then I didn’t. 2.5/5

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nafiza

    When I was reading this novel, I was very entertained by it. I found it a complex exploration of adolescence punctuated with wit, humour and characters I could empathize with and relate to. I found the writing style to be engaging and smart and I really liked the different mediums interspersed in the novel that gave it a wider scope than the simple narrative technique would have. Stuff like emails, lists, excerpts from scholarly articles. The conversations with the painting/sketch of Edward Will When I was reading this novel, I was very entertained by it. I found it a complex exploration of adolescence punctuated with wit, humour and characters I could empathize with and relate to. I found the writing style to be engaging and smart and I really liked the different mediums interspersed in the novel that gave it a wider scope than the simple narrative technique would have. Stuff like emails, lists, excerpts from scholarly articles. The conversations with the painting/sketch of Edward Willing were pretty genius and I was enormously amused by them. The friendships were well portrayed and Frankie remained a favourite character and still remains one though the magic has significantly faded from the novel. All characters are well hewn - except for the mean girls who remain a mystery (though their mean-girl-ness was justified in this case) and I will say it out right now - I wish the story had been about Ella and Daniel rather than Ella and Alex because - well, I have some problems where that is concerned. I may have talked about this earlier. When the love interest is dating the Mean Girl who is excessively mean to the protagonist, it makes me doubt the legitimacy of the love interest. If he is so droolworthy and nice and all things awesome, why in the world is he in a relationship with someone as horrible as the Mean Girl? What does it say about him that he is intimate with a person who, from the descriptions of her and through her treatment of Ella, is just terrible person? Is she a Mean Girl so the protagonist does not look like a horrible cow for stealing away a nice girl's boyfriend? Which is another issue I have with the book. He has a girlfriend and yet he is treating you like you are special which is awesome and all for you but there is another girl out there. One who has a right to know that whatever you are doing at his house, it is not the studying you are supposed to be. And hell girl, why would you want to be with a guy who treats girls the way he is treating his current girlfriend - and you are not her. It disturbs me, okay? It is cheating. And Ella's insistence on holding on to a guy who has a girlfriend makes me think not so friendly thoughts towards her. This normalizes cheating, in fact, it promotes it simply because the girlfriend is a Mean Girl. I'm sorry but no, I don't buy that. He should have had the balls to break things off with her before coming after Ella. Another thing that did not sit well with me is how Ella goes off on a tangent about what "an assertive girl would do" making that assertive girl look/seem ridiculous and very improbable. A strong girl = an undesirable girl with a side of ridiculousness which may have been charming the first time around but raised my hackles all the other times. No, being an assertive girl, Ella, means having the foresight to see that a guy who acts like this with one girl will most probably act like this with another girl. That if the Mean Girl is the one being ditched right now, it will you being ditched the next time. An assertive girl will realize that acceptance from a boy means less than acceptance from yourself. An assertive girl will realize that her friends mean more to her and will mean more to her in the future than some guy who looks through her in the hallways at school. That's what an assertive girl would do. How an assertive girl would act. Oh I know that not every character can be superwoman. I don't expect every character to be actualized and strong. I just don't want assertiveness, a strong self-esteem to be disparaged as I felt they were in this novel. I totally disliked the ending of this novel. Ella does not grow as a character. Superficially it may seem that she does but really, it's only a Cinderella story. That rant over, I did enjoy the book as I was reading it which is why I give it three stars. If you do not give books the same analysis I do, I dare say you will have less problems with the novel than I did. Read it for Frankie, yo.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    So, I've been waiting to read this book, well, since I saw it floating around blogs and GR, it sounded like it might be a good one, they did mention Anna and the French Kiss meets something else I haven't read, and blessed him/her who wrote the synopsis, he/she has no clue whatsoever how to compare books, because AatFK rocked, and TFAoToD SUCKED! Truth : I felt cheated, I was expecting a lot of fun truths and dares. Hey! Don't judge me! I loved playing truth or dare!! Why I think this books sucked: So, I've been waiting to read this book, well, since I saw it floating around blogs and GR, it sounded like it might be a good one, they did mention Anna and the French Kiss meets something else I haven't read, and blessed him/her who wrote the synopsis, he/she has no clue whatsoever how to compare books, because AatFK rocked, and TFAoToD SUCKED! Truth : I felt cheated, I was expecting a lot of fun truths and dares. Hey! Don't judge me! I loved playing truth or dare!! Why I think this books sucked: 1. Ella. Yes, I think the number one reason I hated this book was because of her, I think if you take Ella of the book, you'd have a winner. She's someone who -in a million trillion years- I wouldn't be caught dead with, she's boring, boring... and yes BORING! And she talks to dead people. No no, not ghosts, not spirits, not even zombies, she talks to this dead artist, like, TALKS to him, in my standards, if you're not in paranormal /fantasy novel, it's never a good sign if you talk to dead people. 2. The flat eventless encounters with Ella and Alex. That says it all. There was nothing that drew me to like the "romance". The shared a lemon soda and watched Jurassic Park in french **** is that the part which is suppose to be similar to AntFK??*** Bo ho! I had more romance with a guy I went out once who talked about his mother 90% of the time, seriously! YA authors, learn to romance PLEASE! 3. The writing. I found myself skipping pages at the second half of the book, not that the first half was better, but I was hopeful it would get better, at some point, I was hoping someone would kill someone so I won't have to, that surely had to spice things up! 4. Ella. Yes I know I mentioned her, but I hated her so much that I had to list her again. 5. Alex I hated the major characters of the book, isn't that sad! The main reason I hated Alex was, that after a few weeks of "hiding" Ella from the school and his friends, she shows him her scar, ** and this is the only time I felt anything but hate for Ella** his response was and I quote “I don’t even know what okay would mean,” he said. “‘Okay.’ We’ve never been okay. We’ve been kinda scrambling for it. I mean . . . crap . . . Thank you. For showing me. I know it cost you something. But Jesus, Ella, I really don’t want to feel like I have to constantly be reassuring you of things you should know for yourself. It’s exhausting and takes all the . . . I don’t know . . . satisfaction . . . out of saying what I feel.” Oh yeah, he's prince charming alright. Yes I get that they're only 17 and shit, but this is a girl who hid her scar from the world, it took herself confidence, made her shy, and she found it in herself to finally show that scar to some, he goes like "uh! um, I can't keep reassuring you it doesn't bother me, I've been doing it for three weeks for god sake!" Yeah, Alex, you're "the man"! There were some things that saved this book from getting a 1 star, or going to my less-than-one-star shelf, Frankie is one of them, I wanted to read more about him. Ella's family is another, I guess each deserved a star for being in the book, I felt sorry for them. Two stars in my book, means I get to use this book for future sarcastic remark, and that's what I'm gonna do!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Juhina

    The Fine Art of Truth or Dare was just the contemporary novel I needed to take a break from all the dark paranormal novels I’ve been reading. I know it has been compared to Anna and the French Kiss, and if you’ know me and have watched my YouTube videos you know how much I love Anna. However I’ve learnt to not start a book with high expectations because of comparisons to other favorite books or raving reviews, since that always leads to disappointment, and im glad I didn’t. While The Fine Art of The Fine Art of Truth or Dare was just the contemporary novel I needed to take a break from all the dark paranormal novels I’ve been reading. I know it has been compared to Anna and the French Kiss, and if you’ know me and have watched my YouTube videos you know how much I love Anna. However I’ve learnt to not start a book with high expectations because of comparisons to other favorite books or raving reviews, since that always leads to disappointment, and im glad I didn’t. While The Fine Art of Truth or Dare was cute and different, it was no Anna and the French Kiss. The story starts off with the protagonist falling in love at first sight with a guy she saw, and at the end of the chapter you find out that he’s been dead since the late 1800s. It was unexpected but cute, especially the conversations she has with his photo she has up on her bedroom. Of course the real love interest is 100% alive and goes to her high school. He is your typical high school guy who is dating the most popular girl who is like an extra on the set of “mean girls”. Alex and her end up spending more time together when her French teacher asks Alex to be her tutor. I liked how the close proximity between them wasn’t forced, that it wasn’t a coincidence she met him 10 times a week outside of school. Their conversations were always full of sarcasm and French words that I frankly didn’t understand but enjoyed nonetheless. At some point the digging around the dead man’s past was getting borderline obsessive and in all honesty I sometimes skimmed through the letters between him and his wife since I really wasn’t interested in him. Other than that, I loved the quirkiness of the protagonist, her family and their Italian restaurant, her two best friends and the overall pace of the book. There aren’t any dramatic obstacles for them to end up together which is refreshing so it was a laid back, quick read and I really do recommend it to anyone wanting to read a light and fun novel.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    Street Corner February Group Read First off i have to say that the tile for this book is 100% fitting and perfect. I hate it when books have a title that makes no sense to the story, so props for that Jensen.... For me this book got off to a slow and rocky start. I mean seriously, our girl Ella was in love with a bust of a dead artist, Edward Willing. She was obsessed to the point she had imaginary conversations with him. It was... odd and kind of pathetic. Things started halfway looking up as Ell Street Corner February Group Read First off i have to say that the tile for this book is 100% fitting and perfect. I hate it when books have a title that makes no sense to the story, so props for that Jensen.... For me this book got off to a slow and rocky start. I mean seriously, our girl Ella was in love with a bust of a dead artist, Edward Willing. She was obsessed to the point she had imaginary conversations with him. It was... odd and kind of pathetic. Things started halfway looking up as Ella and Alex started to develop a relationship. But, I still wonder why Frankie hated him so much. I also really am confused as to what Daniel's purpose was in the story. At times it seemed like he was kindof into Ella. But, why even add that in? There was no "moments" with them. He wasn't competition to Alex? He never even said he liked her. But, there was definitely a vibe. I can't not mention how much I Hated that school! Willing. Oral Willing girls... Ugh... I laughed for a hot minute, but geez that's awful. Speaking of awful, Alex's ex-girlfriend was horrid. All the Phillites and Matheletes and all the you fit in this box stuff just drove me nuts. I swear high school (for me anyways) was not like that at all. I mean yeah, there's always cliques and homecoming Queen's, but the way these author's depict it these days it seems absolutely horrendous. I hate that. Anyways, this book gets a 2.5 on my scale. It had some nice moments and maybe a few funny lines, but there was no wow factor for me. (other than thinking about what Alex and Ella's drawings might look like.... I would love to see her Door pictures) Truth: I don't recommend this book Dare: I dare you sing "Don't stop Believing" ;)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Fickle Ghost

    Rating: 2 stars out of 5 There is a lot that needs to be said about this book, but since my review seems lengthy, I'll go ahead and mention four basic points. 1. Ella and Alex: There is no spark There is so much unfinished business when it comes to these two, and it's just sad, because the author had enough time to go on and on about Edward Willing (more about him later), but not the main characters of the story. I just... it's really hard to describe it, but for me, something was off with their re Rating: 2 stars out of 5 There is a lot that needs to be said about this book, but since my review seems lengthy, I'll go ahead and mention four basic points. 1. Ella and Alex: There is no spark There is so much unfinished business when it comes to these two, and it's just sad, because the author had enough time to go on and on about Edward Willing (more about him later), but not the main characters of the story. I just... it's really hard to describe it, but for me, something was off with their relationship. Their connection wasn't charming because I don't even think they were on the same page, Alex treated Ella rather poorly, and it felt as if they were hardly featured in the book. The ending left me unsatisfied, and it felt abrupt because of the poor development and the issues that weren't addressed. This is one thing that really bothered me: At one moment in the novel, Ella brings up a very good point to Alex (regarding the way he treats her), which leads them to have an argument about it. Maybe I missed something, but I'm pretty sure it was never resolved or brought up after they depart from the discussion. Instead, the next time they see each other, they go out on a date, and I guess that's supposed to be his "sorry" to her. I found that to be incredibly disappointing, because I felt that Ella was onto something, and she deserved an explanation, as well as a proper apology, from Alex. 2. The Writing: Tiresome passages aplenty. There was way too much useless information in this book. I was very, very tempted to just skip over the passages that went into extreme detail about Edward Willing and his life. Edward Willing is a dead painter that Ella is fascinated with, so she has these conversations with him (yes, you just read that right). Edward has more character development, and is more thorough than Alex, and arguably Ella herself! I honestly don't know what the author was thinking when she decided to turn her novel into a history book about Edward. There are chapters upon chapters dedicated to this man, and it was highly unnecessary and incredibly boring. The textbook excerpts, copies of letters, and the descriptions of his general life had nothing to offer and I really did not care. If I wanted to read a young adult novel that focused on historical attributes, I would have picked one up. One more thing about the writing, some descriptions in the novel were confusing, and I had to reread them several times. I don't want to type out the entire quote, but this exchange between Ella and Daniel (a character who was very random and kind of pointless, but that's a critique for another time) driving in the car is an example of what I'm talking about. Ella is speaking first. "Tell me about your girlfriend," I said. "I don't have a girlfriend." "Right." Daniel looked at me just long enough to make me squirm, and only just avoid flattening a granny who was crossing against the light with her shopping cart. "Excuse me?" I sighed. "Let me guess. She's as tall as you are and looks like she spends her leisure time in a lace bra and angel wings." "Jesus, Ella, what was in that cup?" "What? Guys like you always have girlfriends like that." He reached out and jabbed a button on the dash. It took two tries, but the music stopped. "Sounds good to me, but there's no girlfriend-" I got it, a little late. Apparently, I'm slow that way. "Ah. I get it now." I slapped my forehead. It was unsatisfactorily silent; his glove was that thick. "Slow. Okay." Am I missing something here? What the hell does this mean? What is 'it'? What am I supposed to be getting? Why couldn't the author just explain what 'it' is? Is Daniel gay? Ella found a condom wrapper in the backseat, so is he only into casual sex and not relationships? Is Ella realizing that he likes her or something? I shouldn't have to spend my time figuring out something that's supposed to be obvious. It drives me up the wall when authors assume that the reader knows what they're talking about. 3. The Languages: The author expects you to be fluent in both French and Italian Can someone please tell me why I had to use google translate (which can often be misleading) while reading this novel? Ella is Italian, and in the book, some of her family members (mainly her Nonna) speak the language, which is completely understandable and a fun element. If you've read the synopsis for the story, you also know that Alex gives Ella French lessons, so French is spoken as well. That being said, the author chose to put these French and Italian phrases, words, and even full sentences in the book without translating them for the reader. Seriously? What if the reader doesn't have access to a translator? How are they supposed to know what the characters are saying, how are they supposed to know what's going on? I mean, come on, there has to be some way to give your audience some sort of clarification after you decide to switch up the languages. It was so excessive in the first half of the book that I eventually became fed up, so I stopped caring and didn't take the time to translate, because I felt that I wasn't missing out on anything, anyway. 4. The Title and the Synopsis: Warning, they are completely misleading As you can see, this book is titled The Fine Art of Truth or Dare. Personally, I think a more fitting title would have involved Edward Willing, because as I said before, he is the main staple of the novel. Ella and her friends enjoy playing truth or dare together, and they play it all the time at a local karaoke restaurant, so that's where title comes from. However, I felt that the element of truth or dare wasn't significant enough to have the entire book named after it. Once again, in regards to the synopsis, the tutoring lessons between Ella and Alex are very scarce, and they don't happen often (now that I think about it, Alex doesn't even teach Ella during their lessons, they just get sidetracked). Whoever decided to give that summary the green-light should be assessed for blatant deceit; they completely hoodwinked the audience. If you were looking forward to the the French lessons like I was, prepare to be let down, because they are minimal, and for the last time, the novel is about Edward Willing. Also, I just now learned that this book was described as "Anna and the French Kiss meets Pretty In Pink." Truth: ABSOLUTELY NOT. Just not even close. If you're looking for something that compares to Anna and the French Kiss, stay far away from The Fine Art of Truth or Dare. So, to make a long story short, I did not enjoy this book, and I wouldn't recommend it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Melissa Jensen's The Fine Art of Truth or Dare languished on my TBR shelf a lot longer than it probably could or should have. But I guess I was finally in the mind for a lighter, young adult romantic comedy and I'll admit this book really fit the bill. A scholarship student at the Willing School, Ella feels practically invisible. The fact that she has a crush on the school's founder from his portrait and writings probably doesn't help things. She speaks to him, but he only answers her when she's Melissa Jensen's The Fine Art of Truth or Dare languished on my TBR shelf a lot longer than it probably could or should have. But I guess I was finally in the mind for a lighter, young adult romantic comedy and I'll admit this book really fit the bill. A scholarship student at the Willing School, Ella feels practically invisible. The fact that she has a crush on the school's founder from his portrait and writings probably doesn't help things. She speaks to him, but he only answers her when she's alone since -- well, he passed away many years ago. Ella also has eyes for the school's most popular guy. But he's with someone else and honestly, he'd never really look her way. Or would he? While Truth or Dare hits many of the same notes as a lot of other young adult novels, what sets the story apart is the characters notes. Ella and her friends are a fun group and Jensen wisely allows us to see some reasoning that Ella would have her crushes on these two guys. Thankfully there is no insta-love between the two, nor is there a romance between Ella and the ghost guy. Instead, what we get is a sweet little story that is well told and unfolds at a good pace. This one is very readable and worth your time if you want something fun.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I loved the way this book was written, it was quite witty. It starts off with Ella sharing her undying love for Edward Willing. The only problem with this is that he died...long ago, as in years before Ella was even born. Through the course of the book she has many an interesting conversations with her idol Edward. If only she could find someone alive who could live up to Edward. Of course there is always her crush Alex Bainbridge, but he's a "Philitte" who will likely never notice her. Ella and I loved the way this book was written, it was quite witty. It starts off with Ella sharing her undying love for Edward Willing. The only problem with this is that he died...long ago, as in years before Ella was even born. Through the course of the book she has many an interesting conversations with her idol Edward. If only she could find someone alive who could live up to Edward. Of course there is always her crush Alex Bainbridge, but he's a "Philitte" who will likely never notice her. Ella and her friends Sadie & Frankie attended Willing School where they are at the bottom of the social ladder. Sadie has money but has a less than perfect body, Frankie is gay and Ella is a scholarship student with a scarred body. This leaves the three of them nearly invisible among the many elite students (Philittes) who attend Willing. At least they have each other and their close friendship with many a game of Truth or Dare. When Alex is assigned to be Ella's French tutor Ella finally has a chance to be noticed by Alex. I loved the first couple chapters but then found it really slow going for a while. It picked up again by mid book and I enjoyed the story. I ended up really liking many of the characters: Sadie, Ella & especially Alex. I liked Frankie too but I just don't enjoy reading about same-sex relationships and was a little turned off by how often his relationships were mentioned. Full of many great quotes and laughs I'm sure this will be a hit with those who enjoy contemporary young adult literature. Rating: 3.5 Stars - Good Book Content: a little language include 1 use of the f word, one of the main characters is gay so there many conversation about who he was dating/liked, one of the characters makes crude comments to and about Ella, a scene where a shirt is removed but done to show a scar, etc. Source: ARC Tours set up by The Teen Book Scene

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sasha

    Probably like 3.75 stars The Fine Art of Truth or Dare is the story of a girl named Ella. She has two fab best friends, a hilarious Italian family that reminded me of the family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and a nasty scar left from a boiling water accident when she was younger. This causes her to be EXTREMELY self-deprecating and self-conscious. The poor girl can't even see how awesome she is! This book is blurbed as "Anna and the French Kiss meets Pretty in Pink" and I can definitely see the co Probably like 3.75 stars The Fine Art of Truth or Dare is the story of a girl named Ella. She has two fab best friends, a hilarious Italian family that reminded me of the family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and a nasty scar left from a boiling water accident when she was younger. This causes her to be EXTREMELY self-deprecating and self-conscious. The poor girl can't even see how awesome she is! This book is blurbed as "Anna and the French Kiss meets Pretty in Pink" and I can definitely see the combination of the two within this book. The perfect popular boy with the queen-bee-yet-not-so-nice girlfriend from Anna and the French Kiss along side of the awkward quirkiness of Andie in Pretty in Pink. Those two things aside, I really think that The Fine Art of Truth or Dare is its own unique novel. It has mentions of Art History, which I absolutely loved. I'm a big, big fan of Klimt and "The Kiss", which is mentioned. And although maybe the younger crowd may not appreciate the references, I definitely did. I also really enjoyed the pacing of this book. Sometimes it seemed a little slow, but I'd much rather have that than boy and girl fawning over each other by page 25, know what I mean? No insta-love, here! If you like the movie Pretty in Pink, you'll definitely enjoy this.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eunice

    Oh god. I think I've completely lost my interest in this book. I dunno if I'll continue reading this as I have been getting really bored with everything that was happening (because, seriously, I don't really care about Edward Willing). I really don't want to stop reading books half-way through but I was really struggling with this one. But maybe, one day, I'll pick this up again and finish it and could make a really proper review. :))

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lexie

    A lot of good and a lot of bad. This book has a fair amount going for it. The writing is good; intelligent and cute and clear. The premise is intriguing and adorable. Both the concept and the execution of the Truth or Dare games were fantastic--it added a really wonderful dynamic to the trio's friendship, and to the story as a whole. And as for the trio itself, I was very pleasantly surprised by our protagonists's best friends. When they were first introduced, I cringed quite a bit; they seemed d A lot of good and a lot of bad. This book has a fair amount going for it. The writing is good; intelligent and cute and clear. The premise is intriguing and adorable. Both the concept and the execution of the Truth or Dare games were fantastic--it added a really wonderful dynamic to the trio's friendship, and to the story as a whole. And as for the trio itself, I was very pleasantly surprised by our protagonists's best friends. When they were first introduced, I cringed quite a bit; they seemed destined to be nothing but flat, irritating stereotypes. However, as the novel progressed, the two became shockingly three-dimensional, likable characters--more likable than the protagonist herself. Also, I really enjoyed the strong presence of family in this novel, even if Ella's relatives occasionally bordered on stereotypical. And, since this is a romance at heart, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the love interest himself. I expected Alex Bainbridge to be the typical rich, hot jackass, so I was again pleasantly surprised when he turned into quite the likable character. While at times his behavior really irritated me, he was funny and sweet and even a bit nerdy, and I grew quite fond of him. Sadly, that's where the positives stop. And sadly, my very first and biggest negative is the protagonist herself. I did not like Ella. I did not connect with Ella. I did not sympathize with Ella. And that made this novel significantly harder to enjoy. There were a few occasions where she acted admirably, or said something witty, and I would smile and nod and think, perhaps there is some hope! But then she'd go back to being shy and self-deprecating and creepy, and the positive feelings would all bleed away. Ella brings nothing new to the table, not even her disturbing obsession with a dead guy named Edward--it's all been done before! She's quiet, awkward, self-conscious, constantly belittling herself, constantly wondering oh-why-oh-why could someone like him ever want someone like me. And worst of all, she's obsessed with an artist that died over a century before. When I say obsessed, I don't mean she really loves his artwork and is fascinated by his life story. I mean she imagines that she holds conversations with him, and even thinks of him in a romantic light. I think that was supposed to be cool and quirky, but it just creeped me the fuck out. And that sort of leads into my other major problem with this novel: we were supposed to think she was the absolute coolest. We were supposed to think that /quirky/ Ella and her friends are just the absolute best and all these hot, bitchy, completely one-dimensional popular kids are the worst thing to ever grace this earth. I mean, G-d forbid you actually give the popular people . . . personality. Or . . . complexity. What kind of book would that be? Clearly, popular people are only popular because of their money and sense of fashion. Clearly, the /artsy/ and /intelligent/ and /wonderful/ people are a million times better than those who dare to care about their appearance! Ella didn't outright think these things--because of reasons called low self-confidence! this is something I've never seen in a YA novel before!--but it was the attitude of the entire novel, that we were supposed to find Ella and her friends so superior to these poorly-characterized, stereotypical popular ilk. My dislike for Ella and this attitude as a whole made it difficult to truly feel the romance, much as I may have liked the love interest. It's hard to root for a couple when you hate half of it, and since the romance was a rather large part of the plot, my failure to feel warm and tingly feelings put a bit of a damper on my reading experience. Also, while this is a much more minor complaint, I think the use of French could've been handled far more skillfully; I wasn't too lost, considering that's the language I'm currently taking, but those less familiar with French might be left a wee bit confused. Overall? It's not a horrible book. It entertained me, and even made me laugh aloud. It simply had too many distasteful aspects for me to properly enjoy it. However, I would recommend this to those looking for a fun, mindless read. 2.5 stars.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Krys

    I'm still in the mood for lighter fiction. So, this week I picked up an ARC of The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen. It's not my usual fare (as you regular readers can tell). It's not Fantasy or Paranormal or Dystopian or dark or bleak. It's not depressing at all. Surprise surprise! What this book is, however, is quirky. But in a good way. It's a delightful, oddball combination that I enjoyed quite a lot. In Fine Art we follow Ella, demure and cautious Ella. Ella lives in Philly with he I'm still in the mood for lighter fiction. So, this week I picked up an ARC of The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen. It's not my usual fare (as you regular readers can tell). It's not Fantasy or Paranormal or Dystopian or dark or bleak. It's not depressing at all. Surprise surprise! What this book is, however, is quirky. But in a good way. It's a delightful, oddball combination that I enjoyed quite a lot. In Fine Art we follow Ella, demure and cautious Ella. Ella lives in Philly with her family, a robust Italian crew who own a restaurant. Ella attends the Willing School and has a bizarre relationship with Edward Willing, an Artist who made an impact on Philadelphian society. Edward has been dead for some time, but that doesn't stop Ella from conversing with him on a nightly basis through his art, and her own. Ella's attraction to art leads her to Alex Bainbridge, one of the Phillites in her school. Ella's self-confidence is low due to an accident in her youth that left her scarred and (she believes) disfigured. There is no way a girl like her could ever be noticed by Alex Bainbridge unless it's as the other Phillites see her - a deformed freak. Particularly since he has a girlfriend, and Ella is invisible to him. This book is completely beguiling. It's such a delightful read. There's so much flavour and spice to this story that it should be bottled. The characters are all excellent. There are so many people to fall in love with, so much charm. I also appreciate any author who, in so many words, can nail my exact opinion on the book Gulliver's Travels. Fine Art deals with so many themes - family relationships, delusions, friendship, strength in one's convictions, believing in yourself. It's a perfect coming-into-your-own novel. I loved it. Art and food and Edith Wharton references...What's not to love? If Jensen would have only referenced Egon Schiele she would have hit the last of my squee buttons. We had Klimt though. That's just as good. 5 out of 5 stars. And I adored Frankie! - review courtesy of www.bibliopunkkreads.com

  21. 5 out of 5

    Will

    Good Lord - what an over hyped book this was :( This did not meet up to expectations. Not one bit. What I didn't like: The constant cultural references made me uncomfortable and was borderline racist in my opinion. Daniel. Someone please explain his purpose in this book, because I sure as hell don't see it. What an unnecessary character he was. Both Alex and Ella are wholly unlikeable. I skipped a lot of the art speak/essays No one really cares about Edward Willing. At least, he shouldn't have been w Good Lord - what an over hyped book this was :( This did not meet up to expectations. Not one bit. What I didn't like: The constant cultural references made me uncomfortable and was borderline racist in my opinion. Daniel. Someone please explain his purpose in this book, because I sure as hell don't see it. What an unnecessary character he was. Both Alex and Ella are wholly unlikeable. I skipped a lot of the art speak/essays No one really cares about Edward Willing. At least, he shouldn't have been written about all that much in this. His background/life story could've been summed up in a page or two, I'm sure. What I did like: The restaurant scenes and the shark/sting ray part. That's it. Those are the only two things I genuinely liked in this book. To sum up - skimmed a third of it, too much art talk, too much heart to heart with a dead artist, and not enough Alex/Ella story and why the hell is this being compared to Anna and the French Kiss? I don't see any similarities at all... Believe me when I say that you wont be missing out on anything if you decide to skip this book. In fact, you should skip it. Don't bother, honestly.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mauve7

    ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS?! I'm all yours! Edit after reading: Hm. I definitely saw traces of both Anna and Pink but I must say that I was expecting sooooo much more. Comparing a book to one of my all-time favorites (Anna) is something to take very seriously here! Anna was such a different and spunky and fun girl. While Fiorella was cute, she was no Anna. She was painfully shy and insecure--trust me, I can relate--but was also kind of...blah. Maybe my expectations were too high? Alex was adorable ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS?! I'm all yours! Edit after reading: Hm. I definitely saw traces of both Anna and Pink but I must say that I was expecting sooooo much more. Comparing a book to one of my all-time favorites (Anna) is something to take very seriously here! Anna was such a different and spunky and fun girl. While Fiorella was cute, she was no Anna. She was painfully shy and insecure--trust me, I can relate--but was also kind of...blah. Maybe my expectations were too high? Alex was adorable, but again was no St. Clair. There was something missing. I loved, LOVED Frankie and Sadie! I hope Jensen decides to write spin-offs a la Stephenie Perkins. I loved Sadie so much! She was cute as a button. Honesty, I can't say that I didn't enjoy this novel because I did. I just didn't love it. And I really wanted to. :(

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ayesha

    Superlatively cute.... Loved Cat's lil' cameo! So glad I stumbled across this author..

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kita

    Anna and the French Kiss? 5 words and I'm instantly intrigued.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    3.5 stars {This review was originally published on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves.} You know that love-hate thing that everyone has with Julie Taylor on Friday Night Lights? I had that same relationship with this book and with Ella, the narrator of Melissa Jensen’s The Fine Art of Truth or Dare. On one hand, she really is smart, and she matures throughout the story, on the other hand, like Julie, I didn’t find myself rooting for Ella to get the nice guy love interest, Alex, until the very end (kind of li 3.5 stars {This review was originally published on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves.} You know that love-hate thing that everyone has with Julie Taylor on Friday Night Lights? I had that same relationship with this book and with Ella, the narrator of Melissa Jensen’s The Fine Art of Truth or Dare. On one hand, she really is smart, and she matures throughout the story, on the other hand, like Julie, I didn’t find myself rooting for Ella to get the nice guy love interest, Alex, until the very end (kind of like Julie). Ella is a working with a somewhat visible scar, on a scholarship at The Willing School, a wealthy private school in Philadelphia. Unlike her classmates, she lives in the neighborhood in which the school is located, where her family also runs a restaurant. In TFAoToD, we follow her as she navigates class differences, changing relationships with friends, mean girls, a research project about a dead artist and a budding relationship with her lacrosse star French tutor. Sounds like a lot? It is, even though the book is relatively lengthy for a contemporary YA at 380 pages. There is, however, a lot to like in this novel. TFAoToD is smart. Art is a big part of the novel, as Ella researches Edward Willing, a Philadelphia-based artist with whom she’s borderline (well, probably not even borderline) obsessed. While I know some reviews of the novel have complained that it’s bizarre that Ella spends so much time talking—yes, literally talking—to a dead artist, I loved this element. Perhaps it’s because I have an art history background, but I totally get it. I remember becoming completely immersed in Dorothea Lange’s life and work when I was writing a massive research paper for my American Women Artists course my sophomore year in college. Jensen doesn’t hold back in the art nerdiness of TFAoToD, and it clearly demonstrates her own knowledge of that world. The humor is no less intelligent. It’s witty (maybe a smidge too witty for teens, but that doesn’t bother me as an adult reader of YA). Ella’s internal (and often self-deprecating—more on that later) monologues had me giggling to myself and highlighting like crazy in my e-reader, And there it was. Alex now knew that I was a penniless coward with a penchant for stinky fish. I knew he was officially adorable. The other characters are smart and funny and quirky as well, and as a reader, even if it’s unrealistic, I loved it. “Nothing but the occasional espresso is perfect*,” she said, not unkindly. “Let me share some wisdom, Willing Girl. Relationships are like Whack-a-Mole. You squash one annoying deformity and another one pops up in no time.” I often struggle with contemporary YA fiction because the relationships with friends are so beyond my experiences as a teen that they feel either, 1) Overwrought with Dawson’s Creek-style drama; or 2) Nauseatingly perfect in their chumminess. Jensen avoids both traps in TFAoToD, creating a portrait {Puns! Yes!} of a group of friends that fight, care about each other and grow apart and together—you know, totally normal stuff. Frankie is a wonderful character with his own problems related to his family situation and he’s a gay character who’s not a sterotype {Win!}. Sadie, Ella’s other best friend, is an equally interesting character, coming from a privileged background with all of the expectations that go along with that—particularly in relation to her appearance. The following is a great example of the dynamic that characterizes this trio, “We’re just going to a movie!” she protested. “Besides, Jared’s not … not …” She gestured down at her lippy hips. “He’s practical and sensible and quiet.” “Oh, my God!” Frankie slapped both palms to the side of his face, and turned to me. “Sadie has a date with a Prius!” Quite honestly, I could easily see books about both characters being quite compelling (likely more so than Ella’s story, but more on that in a minute). And, of course, we have Alex the French Speaking Lacrosse Star. He’s a good dude. Like, a really good dude. He’s caring and smart and artistic and good-humored and I spent much of the book thinking that he was too good for Ella (ala Matt Saracen & Julie Taylor) and that he was patient beyond reason. Much of what I really enjoyed about Alex as a character is similar to what I liked about the rest of Ella’s friends: he defies stereotypes, he’s good humored and intelligent, he grows throughout the novel. And, like Frankie and Sadie, he cares about Ella and wants her to see herself as the awesome person she is (more on that later). This scene epitomizes the dynamic between the two: I couldn’t see his expression clearly. It felt like a long time before he said anything. “Ella …” He paused, then, “What happened? Between you and Anna?” “Other than the fact that I’m a fashion-impaired poor kid who draws doorknobs? Haven’t a clue.” Alex leaned forward. Now I could see his face. He looked annoyed. “Why do you do that? Diminish yourself?” “I don’t—” “Bullshit.” I could feel my cheeks flaming, feel my shoulders curving inward. “I don’t—” “Right. Don’t. Just don’t, with me, anyway. I like you better feisty.” There’s a chapter in TFAoToD that is simply and email exchange between the two that I adored—it was so, so real, probably the realest aspect of the entire novel. Sharing any of it would be massively spoilery, so I won’t quote from it—but it’s fabulous and awkward and perfect. Trust me. Oh, and I can’t even begin to explain how happy it makes me to find a YA set in an urban environment. So what’s the problem? My problems with TFAoToD were threefold: 1) I didn’t really care for Ella; 2) I was promised one thing and given something completely different; and 3) I’ve read this story before, but in a way that was more focused and nuanced. I really struggled with Ella as a character, and even more so as a narrator. In the scenes that didn’t deal specifically with Ella’s passion for art, I found myself increasingly frustrated by her inability to listen to all of the awesome people around her (I didn’t even touch on her awesome family or her mentor). I get that this character trait was part of moving Ella’s journey forward, but it got absolutely ridiculous. As a result, she let the nastiness of her private school’s resident Mean Girls rule her life, which causes all sorts of problems, and ultimately leads to over-the-top Big Misunderstandings. She was a pretty generic YA Heroine with a Problem That’s Not Really a Problem in Real Life. One of my biggest issue with this book is something beyond the author’s control: the marketing. The cover blurb literally says, “Anna and the French Kiss Meets Pretty in Pink.” Um… no. Just no. The only thing that TFAoToD has in common with Anna is that both of the main characters are learning French (at least Alex isn’t a shorty shortskins like Etienne St. Claire—yeah, I said it). And the Pretty in Pink comparison? Aside from the classes differences, I’m not really seeing that one either. So, when I picked it up, I was thinking I’d have a nice, fun, fluffy read to cleanse my palette after so many heavier stories (my brain just hasn’t been right with books since I read The Fault in Our Stars back in January). I wanted to get carried away into something that was a fun, sweet fantasy and that wasn’t at all what this book was about. Really, the marketing of this novel is doing it a disservice. I would have likely read it anyway, but it would have been when I wanted a heavier, “issues” contemporary YA. Which leads me to my final problem with TFAoToD, I’ve read this book before—a bunch of times. Probably my favorite telling of this basic story is Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever (which is one of my favorite books—I must write an “I Love“ about it), and it has the same “game” theme as TFAoToD, without all the other stuff getting in the story’s way (in TFAoToD, scenes of parties and dances and of Ella’s family’s restaurant take up significant real estate without really propelling the story forward). Despite the fun dialogue and eventual growth in the main character, I was never swept away like I have been with other, similar stories—TFAoToD a good addition to the slew of YA lit that tackles the issue of being true to oneself, but it’s not necessarily a memorable one. Ultimately, there’s an ongoing theme of the truth in TFAoToD. Telling the truth to others, discovering the truth about history and, ultimately being truthful with oneself. If you read this novel as such, you won’t be disappointed. If you go into it (as I did) expecting a swoon-y and sweet Anna & the French Kiss-style YA romance, you’ll likely be unsatisfied. FNL Character Rating: Julie Taylor (for aforementioned reasons)** Verdict: Recommended (but don’t trample anyone, Black Friday-style, in order to get your copy) *This is a known fact. **Thank you to Laura, for graciously allowing me to borrow her one-of-a kind "FNL Character Rating" system.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tiff at Mostly YA Lit

    The Fine Art of Truth or Dare was one of the 2012 releases I was most looking forward to. Unfortunately, I felt that its peculiar structure and its pacing made it a confusing and frustrating read. Plot: Ella Marino is a smart, sassy, 16-year old who is interested in art and art history. In particular, she's obsessed with Edward Willing, a post-Impressionist artist who was the nephew of the lady who founded her school, the Willing School. Ella comes from a large Italian family in South Philadelph The Fine Art of Truth or Dare was one of the 2012 releases I was most looking forward to. Unfortunately, I felt that its peculiar structure and its pacing made it a confusing and frustrating read. Plot: Ella Marino is a smart, sassy, 16-year old who is interested in art and art history. In particular, she's obsessed with Edward Willing, a post-Impressionist artist who was the nephew of the lady who founded her school, the Willing School. Ella comes from a large Italian family in South Philadelphia, full of eccentric characters like her father Ronnie who cooks for and runs the successful family restaurant, and Nonna, her grandmother who bosses everyone around. They're happy and full of life, but not exactly rich. The Willing School is full of rich kids, the Philadelphia elite (or the "Phillites") like mean girl Amanda and her posse, and "Bees" who are the school "joiners" - they run the yearbook, the school dances, etc. And then there's Ella and her friends, Sadie - a rich girl who doesn't fit in - and Frankie - a half-Korean flamboyantly gay guy who's from a similar socio-economic circle as Ella. The Phillites also include Ella's crush, Alex Bainbridge, who is, of course, dating Amanda. Ella obviously has no chance with Alex, especially because she feels that the burn scar that covers one side of her neck, shoulder and breast make her ugly. This isn't helped by people at school calling her "Freddy" - as in Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street. The book swirls (really, it felt like swirling) between Ella's research on Edward Willing, who she worships to the point of talking to a postcard of his portrait in her room, to her life with her crazy family, to her and her friends playing Truth or Dare to learn more about each other and discuss their lives, to her eventual (complicated) romance with Alex Bainbridge. My thoughts: There's a lot happening in this book. Maybe too much. The cast of characters was a bit too large, and because of that, the first 150 pages of this book felt like bald exposition. I felt like I was slogging through the beginning just looking for story. Secondary characters like Ella's mother and sister Sienna also ended up feeling a bit like caricatures because of the short amount of time spent on them. I also felt that there were too many plotlines competing for attention. Ella spends a lot of time trying to figure out what she wants, who she is, and how to relate to her friends and family. Between that, she still has to work on her project about Edward Willing, meet and pique the interest of Alex, and deal with her friends. It's a lot. I felt like I was zooming between the storylines, and not in a natural way. The truth or dare element was cute, but it felt too much like a plot device designed to add humour. That said, I really liked the teen characters in this novel. Ella is smart, sassy, and funny, her friends are interesting oddballs, and Alex is an artistic hottie who obviously gets Ella. The writing is hilarious at parts, which I really enjoyed, and I LOVED Ella's research on Edward Willing and her conversations with him. In fact, I would venture to say that that research was the most interesting part of the book for me - maybe because I'm reading a book about archival research right now - even though I'm a sucker for romance. Honestly, this book had all the elements of a book I would normally love - the writing is strong, the characters are cute, the concept is fun, the romance works, and I really did enjoy the family interactions. But because of the pacing, the structure, and the many plotlines and characters, the parts just didn't fit together right. Rating: 3/5

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Ella Marino is nearly invisible at the Willing School, but she's okay with that.She's got her friends, Frankie and Sadie, she's got her art, and she's got 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's your French tutor, and lessons have become more interesting than French ever has been before. But can the invisible girl end up with the golden boy when Ella Marino is nearly invisible at the Willing School, but she's okay with that.She's got her friends, Frankie and Sadie, she's got her art, and she's got 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's your French tutor, and lessons have become more interesting than French ever has been before. But can the invisible girl end up with the golden boy when no one even knows they're dating? And is Ella going to dare to be that girl? This book both was and wasn't what I expected, in a good way. I did expect an amazing contemporary YA novel that was both romantic and thoughtful, but I didn't expect my heart to reach out towards Ella as much as it did. At the heart, the novel is about truth and lies, about taking the dare versus never taking a risk, about letting family and friends, background and socio-economic status define who we are instead of ourselves. Instead of our own thoughts and feelings and abilities. For Ella, this book is about love and faith, loving yourself and having faith in yourself, loving your family and friends, having faith in them no matter the circumstance. It's about discovering the truth, both about yourself and in yourself. Ella was a perfect narrator, a perfect character, but because of all her flaws. She has her picks and preferences, she goes about her life in the way she's accustomed to, even if it is hiding behind the fall of her hair. In hiding the scar from everyone else's eyes, she hides herself and becomes the invisible girl of the Willing School. But Ella has to learn to step out of the shadows, to let what she wants to define herself actually define herself as opposed to her family, her sweet meekness, or her scar. The scar does not define her, but being a caring friend, a great artist, and a wonderful sister and daughter does. But like any teenage girl filled with self-doubt and shame, she uses her imperfection to define her, she highlights it by hiding it, she uses it to escape the world. It's no longer a thing to be experienced but one to be approached with great caution, as a thing filled with people ready to mock her because they themselves are coping with an imperfection of their own. This is the kind of book I wish I'd read in high school. Like Ella, I had a few close friends. Like Ella, I was an artistic nerd (she draws, I wrote). Like Ella, I was terrible at French (well, I could write it, I just couldn't speak it). And like Ella, I was mocked by my peers. It hurts, but you can't let it colour your whole life because those people are just as outrageously insecure as you are. Plus, your friends will always be there after to take you out for Greek food to make you feel better. After reading this book twice in the span of three weeks, I realized two things. One: always tell yourself the truth. Two: it's okay to take a dare because it'll make you stronger, and your friends will be there to catch you on the off chance it goes completely wrong. The Fine Art of Truth or Dare is a must-read for lovers of contemporary YA, fans of misfits and artistic nerds, and those who never felt pretty enough or popular enough or smart enough in high school. You probably were, you just didn't know it. Trust me.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Great book and dry wit funny! What I liked: The characters! I really like Ella. She is smart, artsy, FUNNY, and has a great reason for a deeply ingrained insecurity about the large scar on her shoulder and part of her neck. She uses her hair and clothes to hide it, but none the less, it provides a barrier for her to really trust anyone in the love department. He best friends are great. Frankie…oh my goodness I SO had a friend like him in high school! I just smiled every time I read about Frankie. Great book and dry wit funny! What I liked: The characters! I really like Ella. She is smart, artsy, FUNNY, and has a great reason for a deeply ingrained insecurity about the large scar on her shoulder and part of her neck. She uses her hair and clothes to hide it, but none the less, it provides a barrier for her to really trust anyone in the love department. He best friends are great. Frankie…oh my goodness I SO had a friend like him in high school! I just smiled every time I read about Frankie. Sadie is awesome in her own quiet way. I’m very interested to see this girl blossom if there will be more coming from Melissa Jensen in this world? One of my LOL moments is Ella’s observation of Frankie and his brother Daniel. I enjoy Jensen’s descriptions and Ella’s voice so much: Frankie looks like he might break your heart a little. Daniel looks like he might rip it from your chest, still beating, and bite it. Of course we have Alex. The male leading character whose social status and good looks make him seem so unattainable. However, Jensen does a great job of weaving through this. I enjoy that Alex isn’t stereotypical. Edward Willing is a hoot! I will not spoil his involvement in this story. But, I really like this character too and the dynamics he presents. The romance in this book is sweet, well paced, and not once was I annoyed but it. I felt uncomfortable for a character or two sometimes, but for the scenes, that was what the author wass going for I think. What I didn’t like: I don’t like the Hannandas. You just have to read who this trio is for yourself. Ugh. Overall: I really like this book! I laughed out loud at times. I really enjoyed the voice Jensen created in this book. I would love to be friends with these guys in real life. Not the Hannandas though…they can fly away on the brooms they flew in on.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Reut

    Originally reviewed on reutreads, a young adult book blog. Even though The Fine Art of Truth or Dare had some mixed reviews, I loved this book. I whipped through the +350 pages and sighed. It was all so true! I loved Ella and her friends Sadie and Frankie. I find that contemporary YA must have really well fleshed out characters or it will flop. This is something I struggle with in my own writing but from the second I read that Frankie had a thing for Scandinavian blonds and his brother was in some Originally reviewed on reutreads, a young adult book blog. Even though The Fine Art of Truth or Dare had some mixed reviews, I loved this book. I whipped through the +350 pages and sighed. It was all so true! I loved Ella and her friends Sadie and Frankie. I find that contemporary YA must have really well fleshed out characters or it will flop. This is something I struggle with in my own writing but from the second I read that Frankie had a thing for Scandinavian blonds and his brother was in some sort of Asian gang, I kind of gave the book a nod: well done, Book. Speaking of aforementioned brother: my favorite parts of the book were Daniel and Ella's interactions. Daniel's in a gang, like I said, and he was so feral but also so ferociously entertaining that to be honest I shipped him and Ella more than I shipped Ella and Alex. The weakest part of the novel to me was the romance. While I enjoyed Alex as a character the actual dynamic between him and Ella left something to be desired. And I really wish there had been more swoon. The Fine Art of Truth or Dare is a great contemporary romance that would have been better with a bit more romance. But, I totally recommend it for the amazing characters, awesome family restaurant scenes, and hot boys in gangs. WADDUP.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Snooooooooooooooooooooore.

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