Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review [!] The Fine Art Of Truth Or Dare by Melissa Jensen.

Title: The Fine Art Of Truth Or Dare
Author: Melissa Jensen
Paperback, 380 pages
Expected publication: February 16th 2012 by Speak


Remember this book from my very first extra special edition of Waiting On Wednesday?
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.

I won’t tell you everything that made me fall for this book, because that would be a very long list and I don’t want to spoil the great surprises that are waiting for you. But I have to make a quick list (lists are my thing) for your entertainment:
I think Ella would look like this,
except not as smiley.
·         Fiorella Marino. I’m not kidding when I say she’s amazing. She’s insecure and, oh-God, so na├»ve, yet she manages to make you root for her all through her journey of misadventures and self-discovery. She’s also afraid of driving stick and likes to draw on her jeans. She struggles with French and always burns her marshmallows. I think a lot of you will relate to her (unless you’re a dude, or Jennifer Aniston), I relate to her in more ways than I’ll ever admit (even though I’m 19 and love scars).

·         Alex Bainbridge. Whoever said bad boys were the hottest obviously didn’t know my Alex (I call dibs on him!). He’s nice, you guys. Nice and polite, which is so under-rated nowadays ): He tutors Ella in French and likes Jurasic Park (swoon). Alex only knows a sentence in Italian and he spent all of her life telling people he was allergic to the wrong kind of nuts if you know what I mean ;). He makes Blaine look like a loser (yes, I am a Pretty in Pink fan) (yes, I just said that). And most importantly, he tells the truth. He might/might not like/love Ella but he’s not going to lie for her benefit. I completely adore that about him, because lies do not take you anywhere (except somewhere ugly).

·         Ella’s family. Ella is Italian, her family is big and loud, but adorable and caring as well. I especially loved her Nonna (grandma) who speaks Itanglish and makes Ella beautiful dresses out of her old bed sheets. And her dad, who channels his inner Tony Soprano to scare potential boyfriends. I loved the connection there, her family are not only there, they’re part of the story too, and I loved that Ella respected and was not embarrassed of them even though they were “poor”.

·         Saddie and Frankie. The two best friends have their stories too. Saddie’s mom is obsessed with Saddie’s weight, making her conscious of everything she eats and wears. Frankie is a fashion junkie with the face of a greek korean god. I’m not sure if I liked Frankie not being an romantic option for Ella because, you see, I’m a fan of Pretty in Pink and even though I think Blane was a great choice I’m not sure if he was the right choice because Duckie, oh Duckie, he’s the most adorable thing ever and I would have kept him for me, no question.
For Sadie
I could not picture anyone
but the Sadie from Awkward.

·         Edward Willing. Edward, object of Ella’s fantasies, is a character too, you’ll see what I mean when you read the book. His relationship with Ella reminded me of Lizzie McGuire. Remember when Lizzie the cartoon character came out to play? How she was funny but full of wisdom, yes? Well that’s Edward for you. The story within the story that teaches us so much about love and life.

·         All of the pop culture/music/literature/art references. This book is heaven for the people born in the 80’s, 90’s or with good taste in the aforementioned categories. Some serious laugh out loud moments too.

·         Frankie’s twin brother Daniel. I don’t know how that happened but I fell in love with him along the way, too. This actually happened with a lot of characters now that I think about it… hmmm

·         The setting. I’ve never been to Philly, but as I read this book I was transported there. From Ella’s neighborhood with its restaurants to the galleries in the art museum. Philadelphia really comes off the pages, I never thought this state had such an interesting history, I’m glad this book opened my eyes.

Now when you read this book, watch for these things happening, they were awesome.
·         Ella and Alex’s first “study” date.
·         Ella sketching the door outside the Romance Languages Room.
·         The story of Diana’s (Edward Willing’s wife) bracelet.
·         The under the sea-Davy Jone’s locker mashup dance.
·         Alex’s first visit to Ella’s house.
·         The emails over thanksgiving break.
·         Ella sketches Alex.

·         Alex takes Ella to secret location in New Jersey.
·         The moment of the scar revelation.
·         The moment of the sketch book revelation. (It’s almost at the end you do not want to miss Alex’s explanation of the drawing ;) )
·         The very last page. *swoon* But don’t look until you finish!

Now, like I said I would recommend this book to everyone but especially if:
·         You are/were once unsure about yourself.
·         You have a If My Prince Does, In Fact, Come Someday, It Would Be Great If He Could Meet This Criteria list.
·         You love romance.
·         You loved Pretty in Pink and/or Anna and the French Kiss.
·         You love art, especially artists from the 20th century, a lot of cool references.
·         You love music, from Green Day to Frank Sinatra.
·         You live in Philadelphia (or not).
·         You speak French (or not).
·         You love Italian food.
·         You love fairy tales.
 (I told you lists were my thing) If you checked one or more sentences of the list then you should definitely check this book out.
So yeah, as you can see I’m completely enchanted with TFAOTOD. I think you’d be surprised to see how much is going on and how many different stories come together in this book. It’s deep and complicated yet light and simple. It’s charming and adorable, and if I’d have a daughter I would give it to her. Haha.

Oh, and thanks to Ms. Jensen for providing me with an ARC copy.


  1. This book sounds awesome! I agree, nice guys are totally underrated. I love the fact that her family is involved in the book. I wish there was more of that in YA.

  2. Awesome review! I so want this book now, :D

  3. Your review for this is so fun!! Ahhhh, I seriously can't wait for this book. I really have high expectations for it, haha.

  4. Your review is sooo awesome! haha! I'm now more excited for this book!

  5. @Melanie

    let's create the "We Love Nice Boys" club!
    and btw, what a great name you have, lucky duck!

  6. Can't wait to buy the book and your review makes me wanting all the more. Thumbs up! :))

  7. I have heard about this book and read about this book on every single blog that I have been on lately, it seems. And every time I do, I go back and forth on whether or not to read it. I have only gotten into the Contemporary genre within the last 6 months or so and while I have loved some, I have also just not liked some. I think it may be because I am almost 30 and some things just don't sit well with me anymore. I think though, after seeing so many positives on this one, I may just have to give it a chance. Hopefully, it will live up to its reviews!
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