Author: Melissa Jensen
Pages: 380 Paperback
Rating: 4/5 stars
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?
This book was just as adorable as I imagined it being! Right away, I was completely in love with the main character, her quirky yet really strange obsession with a dead artist, her friends, her family, and just her story in general. Melissa Jensen created such a great, well-rounded, and super cute story!
Ella is just your average outcast with a not so average passion. She is quiet, keeps to herself except when with her best friends, and her closest relationship is the one she has with Edward Willing, a dead artist that she “talks” to. Yeah, I just have to start off with this because it is weird and I tend to like weird. I will not lie; I found the whole in love with a dead artist thing a whole lot creepy. This isn’t just your average admiration either, she full-out LOOOOVVVEEED this guy. She knew his work by heart, studied every piece of literature that mentioned him, and she researched his life endlessly. I mean what is this seemingly normal girl going around talking to a dead guy? But then I had an enlightening moment and began to really understand her a bit. It wasn’t really the fact that she loves everything this dead artist was about (although that may be part of it) it was more of a chance for her to get her true feelings, thoughts, and insecurities out there in the open and not be judged by them. We each have our own source in which we use to vent to, and Edward just happened to be the source for Ella. Aside from this odd little obsession, Ella was extremely relatable and I truly could understand what she was going through!
Ella is a character we can all connect to in at least one way. She has her special traits, she is a great friend, her family drives her a little lot bonkers sometimes, and she is this extremely talented girl that lacks a lot of self-confidence. The thing holding Ella back most in life is the major scarring she has on her body. Caused by an accident as a kid, Ella spends a lot of her energy hiding the scar from everyone else and in turn ends up being very closed off from most people at school. As someone with a “beauty mark” (it took me MANY years to get comfortable with calling it that) smack-dab on the middle of my face, I found I could really relate to this aspect of the story. No one likes feeling imperfect and they certainly do NOT enjoy showing those “imperfections” to the world. Ella is not comfortable with the “imperfections” left behind yet she is forced to face people every day with the scars being quite evident.
Even though this was a HUGE part of the book, and it prevented the main character from doing many things, we were still able to see a freer, more confident side of her especially when she was her two best friends, Frankie and Sadie. If you know anything about me, you know that I adore when the best friend role is written rather well in a book. In this case it was amazing! Frankie and Sadie are complicated, they are human, they make rash decisions and get upset, but in the end they are SO there for Ella. They are each going through their own thing in the book which really added to the whole well-rounded effect. Even though they each have their own issues to work through, they spend a ton of time trying to push Ella out of her little shell. Every once in a while, you would get to see a bit of confidence shine trough and it was truly beautiful. But what I think is the most important thing about their relationship, is that they accepted and loved Ella for who she was, relationship with a dead artist and all.
The love interest in this story was sweet, not the “HOLY WOW! THEIR FEELINGS FOR ONE ANOTHER JUST BLEW ME AWAY” type of love, but definitely a cute one. A lot of reviews that I have read on this book mention the love/romance in this book seriously lacking however, that is not quite the way I see it. Ella and Alex have their moments, the cute moments, swoon-worthy moments, angry moments, and even a few funny moments. The connection between these two seemed real and true to something you may find in real life. It irritated me a bit that the difference in their popularity seemed to play a major role in their relationship but for the most part that was all in Ella’s head. I think Melissa wrote their story the way she did for a reason. This book wasn’t supposed to be all about a non-popular girl getting noticed and finding love with a popular guy. It is more a story of a girl growing to be more confident in herself and learning to love herself before she can move forward in a relationship. At least that’s what I took away from this aspect of the story!
In the end, I really enjoyed The Fine Art Of Truth Or Dare! On the surface it is a fun, light read but once you take a deeper look at this book, you’ll see that it touched bases on more important issues like self-confidence and body image. Melissa seems to know her stuff; I liked the characters, the major and minor ones, the fun way she covered more “serious” topics, and the all-around cuteness of the story!