Thursday, March 1, 2012

Review #152: The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen

Greetings fellow book lovers! I hope you are all well today. Here's today's review!

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen. Goodreads says:

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?

When I first heard about this book, I was SUPER excited. It was billed as Pretty in Pink mixed with Anna and the French Kiss. One of my favorite movies mixed with one of my favorite books? Sign me the hell up! Unfortunately, this book was not as epically amazing as I thought it would be. Aside from the French tutoring, there is nothing in this book that is comparable to Anna and the French Kiss. I did love how TFAoToD was a lot like Pretty in Pink, save for the best friend being in love with our protagonist and some other parts. The story was just meh, which as I said, is extremely disappointing. The story was just not as good as I thought it would be, plus the author took roughly half the book setting up the premise. I'll get more into it in the writing section. I thought the plot was a nap-inducing for some parts and just contrived for others. And once Ella and Alex finally get together, their love story/no one knows their dating aspect goes entirely too quickly for my taste. Like I said, for a book whose blurb is built around the two people from different ends of the wealth spectrum secretly dating concept, the books spends very little time on it. TFAoToD is more about Ella learning to accept her flaws, accepting that her idol was a flawed being and just plain old accepting herself. While that is fine and good, I wanted to see more of what was promised, not what was delivered. I'm sorry for going on this huge rant, but I was sorely disappointed in this book, and I have a bad taste in my mouth from it.

Ella was your typical artsy girl. She was secretly in love with the love interest, yet had a crush on her long dead artistic idol. I don't know, I thought she was incredibly flat, save her her awesomely nerdy banter with Alex, Frankie and Sadie. Her journey of self acceptance and her love with Alex really did not captivate me at all. Alex was also the typical rich kid with a secret heart of gold. While he was incredibly cute and as I said, his banter with Ella was good, he had no distinguishing qualities. Frankie and Sadie on the other hand, were excellent. While Frankie could have been turned into a stereotypical gay best friend, he wasn't, which is fantastic. Frankie was a beautifully flawed, caring sweet and funny best friend who stood on his own and was so real. I loved his character, and how Ms. Jensen added an air of mystery to him and his past. The same goes for Sadie. While her insecurity annoyed me at times, I loved how much she cared for her friends, and just how sweet she was. Man I wish Sadie and Frankie were my friends, I think we'd hit it off famously. The mean girls made me want to hit them, or at least give them a taste of their own medicine. I did love Ella's family, who also stood on their own and were real and awesome. 

Ms. Jensen was a pretty decent author. Like I said earlier, she took her sweet time developing the love story, and the complications that arose with it. I'm glad that Ms. Jensen put so much thought and effort in creating the set up, but in doing so she left little room for the romance/Pretty in Pink aspect to develop. I mean, if you are going to make the blurb about the love story/Pretty in Pink aspect, you would think Ms. Jensen would focus on it more. I'm sorry, ranting again X_X. I did think she hit it out of the park with Frankie, Sadie and Ella's family. Other than them, Ms. Jensen was a pretty mediocre author, who made a LOT of pop culture references, which became a crutch her writing could lean on. 

I'll next be reviewing Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell. 

Until next time, viva la literature!

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