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
I don’t read a lot of YA contemporary books, but after the absolutely charming Anna and the French Kiss (and Lola!), I’ve been open to the genre and on the hunt for reads that are just as witty, heartwarming, and delightful. The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen was getting comparisons to Anna and, hey, the cover was cute so I figured, “Why not?”
I think the main issue I had with The Fine Art of Truth or Dare was that I simply wasn’t enamored with Alex and Ella as a couple. The idea of them getting together sounded great, and I thought there was potential for me to really fall in love with them in the beginning (Jurassic Park…in French!), but my heart wasn’t racing, I wasn’t giddy in excitement over them, and I wanted more FLUFF! I probably sound ridiculous, but I was disappointed that there seemed to be a larger focus on Edward Willing than the romantic stuff that I have a soft spot for. Which leads me to…
Yes, Edward Willing. I don’t know, you guys. I was okay with Ella having appreciation for him, but it went a little overboard. Full “conversations” with him? Um…pretty bizarre stuff, I think. The book also had these large passages about him, his letters, and whatnot. I thought they were very unnecessary and misplaced. I just…didn’t care and I have to admit I skipped over them.
The supporting cast was an absolute highlight in The Fine Art of Truth or Dare. Although Daniel was one character that seemed randomly inserted into the story, Sadie and Frankie, Ella’s best friends, were so wonderful and their dynamic with Ella was absolutely genuine. Their friendship was definitely my favorite part of the book and I’m glad that Melissa Jensen featured them so heavily; they were not pushed into the background as useless characters. Ella’s vibrant family life was also included and it was refreshing to get a glimpse of her in that setting.
Truth: I wish I had liked The Fine Art of Truth or Dare more than I did, but there were some parts that I really enjoyed. Though I wanted more romantic gushiness, and less Edward Willing, there were laughs and friendships to adore along the way. I’d give it a go if you’re looking for a quick, light read.
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