Friday, 27 January 2012

ARC Review: The Fine Art of Truth or Dare

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?

Ever since I first saw the cover of this book back in the fall I have been absolutely itching to get my hands on a copy. A book about a girl who loves art and falls in love with a handsome guy at school? Sold! You could imagine my excitement then when I won a free ARC copy from a contest the author, Melissa Jensen, was having on her twitter account! There was definitely a lot of excited squealing involved! When it came to actually reading this book, however, I was slightly disappointed.....

Now I should start off by clarifying the fact that just because I was disappointed doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy The Fine Art of Truth or Dare! It was a really cute story, but it just wasn't as good as my expectations had built it up to be. I think this was partly due to the fact that it was compared to Anna and the French Kiss on Goodreads. While the concept was somewhat similar to Anna, I found Jensen's writing style and execution to be more like Meg Cabot than Stephanie Perkins (in a good way!). Like Meg Cabot, Jensen's writing keeps things nice and light, with plenty of humorous pop culture references to keep readers amused.

Where I ultimately found myself disappointed was the way the romance plot unfolded. Although Ella and Alex were interesting characters, I didn't feel the sparks flying between them like I did for Anna and St. Clair, or Lola and Cricket in Perkins' novels. Even putting the Anna and the French Kiss comparison aside, the romance plot just didn't have the drama or excitement that I was looking forward to. It seemed like Alex just fell for Ella way too easily, and the courtship period didn't last as long as it should have.

Strangely enough I found myself more drawn towards the story of two of the minor characters in the book, Frankie (Ella's gay best friend) and his twin brother (a bad boy with what seems like a heart of gold). If anything I would LOVE to see Jensen write a spin off story about these two brothers. Their personalities and back story had me intrigued the whole time I was reading, and I kept wanting to find out why Frankie hated talking about his twin with his friends (an answer I never got in this novel).

Overall, The Fine Art of Truth or Dare was cute, and certainly enjoyable, but it was missing a certain something that could have made it great. While I may have personally been disappointed, I definitely think it is still a book worth checking out, especially when you are looking for something light and fun to read. My fingers are crossed that Jensen will write about Frankie next... a novel that I would certainly love to read!

Recommended to: Fans of Meg Cabot

Rating: B - 


Jenny said...

Man! Stupid high expectations! ;) This one looked really cute to me but I'll definitely calm down and lower my expectations before I read it now.

Shoshanah said...

This looked liked such a cute book, and it's sad to hear it was a little disappointing for you. But even so, I think I'd still be willing to pick it up.

Ikhlas said...

Hmmm its too bad you didn't like it as much as you wanted to!

I'm finding a lot of books these days are overly hyped (ahem The Night Circus), so much so that the real thing can never live up to the hype. Le sigh.

Erin W. said...

I'll read anything with a book marketed as Pretty in Pink meets Anna and the French Kiss. Looking forward to reading this one. Great review. At least you still enjoyed it despite your disappoint (note I don't think any contempt. book can beat a Stephanie Perkins book).

Ninja Girl said...

I just reviewed this one as well. Like you, I was really intrigued by Frankie and Daniel. Loved, loved, loved Daniel and how his rep didn't quite match up with the way he treated Ella and the rest. I'd love to see his story ;)
Great review,
Ninja Girl

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