Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen
4/5 stars
Speak, 2012
380 pages
YA Contemporary

Source: Received as gift from parents (I love you Mom :)

This book looked exactly like my kind of read: fun, flirty contemporary albeit with a twist. See, main character Ella talks to painter Edward Willing, who has been dead for about one hundred years. Like serious in-depth conversations with him about his life and her own life. It's kind of a shock but it really appealed to me. I don't think this gimmick will work for everyone but I thought it was a fun twist.

Other great elements were the sense of humor shared by Ella and her friends. I laughed at many points in the book.  As a Pennsylvania girl, I really appreciated the Philadelphia setting although I'm not very familiar with the city myself so I cannot comment on any accuracy issues.  I wasn't the biggest fan of the love story, which has South Philly Ella crushing on popular boy Alex. It was cute enough but I didn't get a lot of sparks between the two.

My big problem with this book was a specific conflict with Ella, who is so insecure and constantly pushes away Alex and any attempts at happiness. She can't see how anyone would be interested in her. Now I completely understand that (if high school me was a YA character, she would have been just as annoying...or probably more so in this regard) but I'm afraid I was not super sympathetic in this case.

I also thought the book was a little choppy in places with some things taking forever to happen and others happening in the blink of an eye. This pacing was a distraction from my overall general enjoyment of this book.

One last thing to note is that it looks like this book is connected to Jensen's previous book Falling in Love with English Boys but it can be read as a standalone. Saying that, I definitely want to check out that earlier book because I really enjoy Jensen's writing.


  1. i bought this book a long time ago but never got a chance to read it. your review makes me want to read it asap.

  2. I enjoyed this one too. And Falling In Love With English Boys (love that title!) has a similar structure, with a contemporary girl having a sort-of love triangle with a real guy and a historical guy. Fun concept!

  3. Glad you enjoyed, I haven't read either yet, but they sound good.
    Hope you get to read it soon!
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  4. Oh, interesting--this is the first review I've read where there's mention of a companion novel! Thanks for that, and thanks for the review. :) I think I need to read this sometime.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  5. This book looks so darn cute - I've had my eye on it for awhile, I really need to just pick it up.


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