Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading .... The Fine Art of Truth or Dare

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Just Finished Reading .... The Fine Art of Truth or Dare

Photobucket

This Saturday is my last Valentine's Day-themed review.  Next week, I'm going paranormal!


Today's feature is:

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare
by Melissa Jensen

Speak/Penguin
February 16, 2012

Source: bought at Barnes and Noble

Mature Content: none

If you enjoyed Melissa Jensen's Falling in Love With English Boys, her second book has many of the same components:  a plucky, sympathetic heroine, the boy she admires from afar, and a historical figure whose story gets woven into the plot.


In this book, the sympathetic heroine is Fiorella "Ella" Marino, a scholarship student at the Willing School in Philadelphia. The dreamy boy is Alex Bainbridge, a classmate of Ella's. And the historical figure is Edward Willing, an obscure  painter and nephew of the school's founder.

Ella's a social zero at school.  Unlike the "Phillites," her school's in-crowd, Ella has an unsightly scar and a loud, boisterous Italian family who run a restaurant in South Philly. Ella loves to draw and she's intrigued by the artistic talents of real-life Alex and long-dead Edward. She gets to know the former when he tutors her in French and the latter when she spends some time poking around the school archives. In fact, she has long conversations with Edward about her life. Just as she and Alex seem to connect, she learns something about Edward that reinforces all her insecurities about being with Alex.

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare was a fun and entertaining read. Ella was a winning protagonist. The book had great secondary characters and the historical subplot added an original touch.

However, in the words of Tim Gunn, there's a Whole Lot Going On Here.** Ella has an imaginary relationship with Edward and a real one with Alex. The dialogue zigs and zags between pop culture, psychology, and art. Some great subplots stay frustratingly unresolved. At times, reading this book felt like standing in the middle of the kitchen at Marino's restaurant during the dinner rush -- a little chaotic.

But all in all, I enjoyed being in the center of all the fun. If you're a fan of YA contemporary fiction and looking for a lively, keep-you-on-your-toes kind of read, I'd recommend The Fine Art of Truth or Dare -- and Falling in Love With English Boys.

**In case you're curious, here's some of the things that come up in the course of the book: Man Ray, Genghis Khan, Red Bull, Cinnabon, Gene Kelly, Pat Benatar, Freddy Krueger, Shakespeare, Top Chef, Keats, Jessica Simpson, Japanese woodblocks, Dancing With The Stars, Johnny Depp, Styx, Steven Tyler, Italian folk tales, Celine Dion, Kung Fu, karaoke, Poland Springs, Saturday Night Live, Robert DeNiro, American Idol, Ozzie Osborne, David Beckham, Christina Aguilera, Jackson Pollack, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Joan Crawford. Whew.

20 comments:

  1. It sounds really fun and cute. Fantastic review Jen!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. hahah I LOVE the TIm Gunn refrence. hehe ahhh! LOVE that man so much!!! hehe Anyhoo...I ordered this one at the last B&N 50% off sale and I'm hoping when it gets here I will enjoy it. lol Maybe when I'm having a super quiet drama free day I'll dive into it LOL It does sound cute tho! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, I've had my eye on this one! Thanks for reviewing it. New follower, by the way, at kristinaaziz.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for following. Just stopped in at your blog :)

      Delete
  4. This one is on it's way to me from B&N. But you are right, that does sound like a lot of stuff crammed into one book! I'm giving it a try because it's got a lot of the things I love in it: art, private schools, unlikely romance, loud Italian families (since I happen to have grown up in one myself:) Great review, I'll have to keep my eye out for her first book too:)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I don't think I'll mind the chaotic nature of the plotlines, I kind of enjoy that. I've liked this cover ever since I first saw it. Thanks for your insights into the book. Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I keep seeing cute reviews of this -- MUST read it. And the one about English Boys ;o) Love finding new YA :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you'd especially like Falling in Love With English Boys because of the historical aspect.

      Delete
  7. Oh, Harry Potter comes into the picture? Done. Sold. I'm ready.

    Haha, great review! This sounds like an awesome contemporary and the historical figure aspect definitely sounds unique. And Ella? Well, you've convinced me. I like my heroines plucky and sympathetic :) I can't wait to read this one!

    Sonia

    ReplyDelete
  8. It looks like a very BUSY story. I'll keep that in mind.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow...that is a long list of things that are mentioned in the book. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know. I'd love to meet the author. Her mind zigs and zags in all these fascinating directions.

      Delete
  10. Wow that is a lot going on in the book but of those topics I know and love. Ella sounds like a great character, especially being Italian and loving art. I also can't wait to meet Alex, that is so cool he is a French tutor. I definitely need to read this book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know you love contemporary stuff, so definitely put it on your list!

      Delete
  11. I just ordered this as a RAK for someone and now I need a copy for myself...looks like I'll be ordering more books soon! Thanks for the review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a really fun book. Ella's family is so funny and she has the most amazing friends.

      Delete

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope you'll leave me a comment. I read and appreciate each and every one and try my best to reply. Leave me a link to your blog or website!

 
Blog design by Imagination Designs