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The Fine Art of Truth or Dare

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare

3.7 33
by Melissa Jensen

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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


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?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Artistic 16-year-old Ella Marino is a scholarship student at an elite Philadelphia private school where she has two impossible crushes: one is Edward, the long-dead nephew of her school’s founder and a fellow artist; the other is Alex, a popular boy whose connection to Ella grows after he is assigned to be her French tutor. But Ella’s best friend does not trust the handsome rich boy, and even Ella fears she may be Alex’s “dirty little secret.” Jensen (Falling in Love with English Boys) gives readers a full sense of Ella’s life, from her loud, loving family that runs a local Italian restaurant to the honors thesis she is writing about Edward; in addition to her imagined conversations with Edward, Ella spends time searching through his archive, where she makes a surprising discovery. In contrast to all this vivid detail, side characters—including Ella’s quirky best friends—feel thinly drawn. Readers may grow impatient with the meandering story arc, but they will find Ella’s exchanges with Alex, Edward, and her warm family enough to propel them through. Ages 12–up. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Ella Marino has an unwelcome nickname—Freddy—to go along with scar that runs from her jaw bone to her chest. She got the scar when she was scalded at her family's restaurant several years before she entered Willing Academy and has been defensive about it ever since. Like most teenagers, she has a crush on the most unattainable, she thinks, boy in her school. Alex runs with the popular crowd and is dating the school's Queen Bee, who of course hates Ella. Frankie, who is gay, and Sadie are Ella's best friends and always have her back. Well, except where it comes to Alex, whose crowd is beyond snarky to those they consider lesser mortals. Ella has another crush with whom she can actually have conversations. Granted the conversations are all in Ella's head since Edward Willing is the long deceased founder of the school she is attending. Still he does give her good advice. Through her research into Willing's life, Ella learns stuff about life in general and herself in particular. Then Alex begins to pay attention to her and finally scolds her for having low self-esteem. They bond over their love of drawing and find they have much in common. The story covers believing in oneself and sticking up for friends, but also has a good dose of learning about artists and how to follow your own dreams. The characters are nicely drawn for the most part, although the snarky ones are a bit stereotypical, and there isn't a mythical or alien character in the book which actually takes place in modern times. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.56(w) x 8.52(h) x 1.02(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Melissa Jensen (www.melissajensen.com) lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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The Fine Art of Truth or Dare 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
StuckInYAbooks More than 1 year ago
I did like this one, it was adorable and it did have a moment to appreciate art more. Learning all these facts of art while falling in love with the Ella and Alex. I loved how it all blended together. Jensen did a beautiful job with creating the chemistry between these two characters!! I was rooting for them both until the very end. The Fine Art of Truth or Dare will give you new ideas that will also help you try new things and also temptation from the cool table. I really loved Ella's character, she was strong even after what she went through as a child. She has a deep connection to art because of her research project and ever since she was little, loved local artists. Alex comes to her attention because he forgets his textbook and he also helps her with tutoring with French. I loved their scenes together because despite the class and amount of money his family has he gets to know her, and have the same similarities. He really grows on you once you get to know him. Ella's family is a great supporting characters, loved each one of them because they love Ella for who she is, and they want to encourage her dream of becoming an artist + Italian family (<3) This book is unique and full of culture that it will enchant you and show you that art can bring love together, even french tutoring !! Melissa Jensen is very talented and I look forward to many more books by her. It is a very good novel!! I cant wait to read it again soon!!
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
The Fine Art of Truth or Dare was just the contemporary novel I needed to take a break from all the dark paranormal novels I’ve been reading. I know it has been compared to Anna and the French Kiss, and if you know me and have watched my YouTube videos you know how much I love Anna. However I’ve learnt not to start a book with high expectations because of comparisons to other favorite books or raving reviews, since that always leads to disappointment, and im glad I didn’t. While The Fine Art of Truth or Dare was cute and different, it is no Anna and the French Kiss. The story starts off with the protagonist falling in love at first sight with a guy she saw, and at the end of the chapter you find out he’s been dead since the late 1800s. It was unexpected but cute, especially the conversations she has with his photo she has up on her bedroom. Of course the real love interest, Alex, is 100% alive and goes to her high school. He is your typical high school guy who is dating the most popular typical mean girl. Alex and her end up spending more time together when her French teacher asks him to be her tutor. I liked how the close proximity between them wasn’t forced, that it wasn’t a coincidence she met him 10 times a week outside of school. Their conversations are always full of sarcasm and French words that I frankly didn’t understand but enjoyed nonetheless. At some point the digging around the dead man’s past was getting borderline obsessive and in all honesty I sometimes skimmed through the letters between him and his wife since I really wasn’t interested in him. Other than that, I loved the quirkiness of the protagonist, her family and their Italian restaurant, her two best friends and the overall pace of the book. There aren’t any dramatic obstacles for them to break through in order to end up together which is refreshing. All in all The Fine Art of Truth or Dare was a laid back, quick read and I really do recommend it to anyone wanting to read a light and fun novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I will admit that I liked some of het characters more than others like Ella's Nonna, but Alex I really could not stand. He seemed a bit to worried about what other people thought and that I could not stand. Everthing else worked just fine for me.
CallieNoelle More than 1 year ago
This book was really good but it was a little boring during the parts where she would talk to the fake artist ghost. I just with their was a tad bit more romance.
InkandPage More than 1 year ago
Rating: 3.5 The Low Down: Ella Marino has already met her perfect guy. Artistic like she is, understanding about love, erudite and dead since 1916. So maybe, he’s not ideal, but that guy is taken. Alex Bainbridge. Boyfriend of Amanda Alstead. Popular, of course. But Ella has her best friends, Frankie and Sadie, to keep her warm at the “less-popular” table. What more could a girl need? Well, for starters...a passing grade in French. Why does she need a foreign language when she can express herself through art? Unfortunately, Willing (the school, not the dead guy) says she must. So her French teacher assigns a tutor to help her. Of course that tutor turns out to be Alex Bainbridge. What she doesn’t expect is how friendly and interested he seems. But Amanda and her sidekicks, Anna and Hannah, are always one step behind Ella, mocking her and calling her Freddy Krueger. Apparently, now everyone knows about her scars from long ago that she tries to keep covered up. And the only person it could be was someone who used to be a friend. It’s hard enough trying to stick to the shadows...how can she last in the light? IMHO...: Everyone has scars, with many people’s only showing through their behavior. Ella has been trying to hide hers for so long, it is like second nature to her. But what’s interesting is not that she has scars, but that she allows them to dictate how she feels about herself; yes, she hides her scars, but she also hides behind them. I read Ms. Jensen’s Falling in Love with English Boys first, and I loved how she alternated between current-day and the past. It gave the book a richness and depth that some Young Adult romances lack. This book was similar in that there was the Edward Willing character, though Ella only “knows” him through his writing and art. It, too, added a little something to this story to make it more vibrant and less shallow than your average teen story. The best nickname for Populars appears in this story. Amanda, Anna and Hannah are known as The Hannandas. However, while it is a good book that I enjoyed, it lacked something that was in Falling. A maturity, maybe? It was much more conventional and seemed to skim the surface more than delving beneath the typical. There were so many issues in this story (gay best friend, gay best friend who took a guy to the school dance, physical scars, tight-knit family, family possibly being suffocating and/or embarrassing, being a scholarship kid, dealing with slightly scary woman at art museum, finding out your hero may be human after all, dealing with a friend who does a 180, etc. etc.), but it seems that they were handled a little too simplistically. The Bottom Line: Truth? Definitely a book worth reading; I dare you. The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen was published February 16, 2012 by Speak. Ink and Page picked this book up from the library, so no one had a choice about whether it was reviewed. Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance Ages: 12 and up You Might Want to Know: Some profanity
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know. IjustLOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Bad_Moon_Rising More than 1 year ago
Love It! It was a good and fast read. It was hard to put down!! It blended art and love together in a way that most could not think of doing. It also brings in real life in the way that people view others in society by the area that they come from and how much money a person might have.
DanceBree17 More than 1 year ago
There are so many things going on in this book that you feel as if you are part of some complex Italian dish. First off you have Fiorella(she goes by Ella) who has a large,loud, but loving family who own a small Italian restaurant in South Philadelphia. Throw in Frankie, Ella's gay but very loyal best friend, Alex, the cute upper crust boy that Ella has feelings for, and the ghost of Edward Willing and you have the main characters of this incredible book. The conversations that Ella has in her head with Edward border on a wild schoolgirl crush, but later you see that really whats happening is she is getting her ideas for her senior thesis. Same thing goes with Ella, she seems to be comfortable being the wallflower, but she finally takes a stab at talking to her long time crush Alex, and along the way we see that Ella isn't shy normally, she's shy because of a terrible accident years earlier that gave her a really dark pigmented scar that she's afraid to let anyone see, much less touch. I love that art plays a big part in the book, and not just about Edward Willing, but many other artists and styles are talked about. In fact the research Ella does in her thesis on Edward is something that anyone can do on other artists to learn more about why they did certain pieces or what the inspiration might have been. The ending was very nice and I really liked how things worked out for everyone. I think that this is perfect for a beach read, or something to kill a few hours with. You will love it, and maybe even want to go see some art because of it.
ShaynaGier-dot-com More than 1 year ago
I Dare You To Read This Book! What I Loved: Truth: Alex is incredibly cute and perfect for a 16-year-old's love story. Truth: The Cover art is absolutely amazing. Truth: I absolutely love Melissa Jensen's writing style. What I Didn't Like: There's not too much to complain about here. My Overall Review: I was way excited to read this book. Another book at the top of my lists is Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins which, without reading it, seems to have a similar feel to The Fine Art of Truth or Dare... and hopefully that review will happen sometime this year. Anyways, I was really looking forward to this book, and that can be a dangerous thing for a book. It is easy to find faults in something that I'm hyped up about, but luckily that is not the story with The Fine Art of Truth or Dare. Ella, or Fiorella (I told you I have a thing for the unusual names), is an absolutely lovable protagonist. She's 16, and despite being in love with a dead guy and having a major crush on the hottest guy in school, has all the insecurities that usually come with being 16 and one of the lower-class kids in an otherwise very privileged-kid school. She, of course, has her small group of friends- who were ok but I could give or take-, and she doesn't always make the right or smart choice. If I had to describe one word for Ella, and this is probably my oldster self-kicking in again, I would say she's very "cute." Alex, her (living) love interest, is- of course- the popular kid, who is also on the lacrosse team (what is it with lacrosse teams? They seem to be the new quarterbacks in literature) and who Ella feels is so out of her league. While Alex's friends are- in the worst sense possible- exactly the mean, rich, stereotyped popular kids that you think of when you think of "the in-crowd," Alex slowly shows Ella, and the reader, that not all rich kids are like that. Does he screw up? He's 16- give him a break! Still, overall I have to say I absolutely adore Alex. And with my opinion of the characters, all that is left is the actual book and writing. Suffice it to say there were many times that I laughed out loud at a quote or found it utterly thought-provoking. I love Melissa Jensen's writing style in The Fine Art of Truth or Dare, and I only wish she'd make a series about Ella and Alex. I know she has other books, but I get attached to characters and it's hard to let truly awesome characters go after just one book. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone that loves young adult or cute, young romances. Disclaimer: I won this book for a contest. I was not asked to provide my opinion, I just did. All thoughts and feelings are my own and I've received no compensation for writing them.
ReadingToEscape More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It was hard for me to put it down and when I did, I was counting the minutes to pick it back up. However, Ella's weird obsession with some dead artist was a little weird for me. Overall I would read this book again and suggest it to others. 
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This book was...ok?idk i mean i liked it a bit. But Alex was just not what i call prince charming, and she made it sound like he was. Yes, hes cute but he cared to much about his reputation and such. Half the time he was a total snob, i kept liking him less the more i read. Other than that the book was somewhat good. I actually would give this a 2 and 1/2 though.