Monday, February 27, 2012
The Fine Art of Truth or Dare, by Melissa Jensen
Release date: February 16th 2012
Published by: Speak
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 2/5 stars
Ella is nearly invisible at the Willing School, and that's just fine by her. Still, it's hard being a nobody and having a crush on the biggest somebody in the school: Alex Bainbridge. Especially when he is her French tutor, and lessons have started becoming, well, certainly more interesting than French ever has been before.
When I first set eyes on The Fine Art of Truth or Dare, I thought this would be a book I'd enjoy. Especially when people started to compare it to Anna and the French Kiss (a contemporary novel I loved). It turned out, a lot of things went wrong, things that made my rating fall, and hard.
Ella is the main character, a shy girl who's one of the invisible kids at the Willing School. She has a horrible scar on her neck and shoulder, which makes her socialization with other students much harder. The love of her life is Edward Willing, an artist who died in 1916. Ella talks to Edward in her mind, like in imaginary conversations. He gives her advices all the time, but this is seriously creepy. I expected Ella to realize how insane this is at some point, but no, she acts like it's no big deal.
Other than that, her shyness would be a girly and cute aspect of her personality, had it not been so accentuated. She wasn't shy, she was a chicken, and that's it. She was afraid of people staring at her scar, she was scared of basically everyone with a social life, she was afraid of singing, of dropping her soda on her shirt, of doing the wrong thing in front of Alex, of losing her friends... Her point of view was so tiring; I couldn't wait to finish reading this book. If someone yelled "You're a freak, and you look like Freddie Krueger!" on my face, I wouldn't start to cry. I'd beat the crap out of the girl, or at least ignore her. Guess what Ella did?
Ella didn't feel real, as well. If Alex told her "Oh, we're having lunch with the lacrosse team, and you're going to take off your clothes" with a wink, she would start trembling and shaking, wondering if that was true. Then she would whisper, "What?” terrified of what was going to happen. This felt way too forced. I couldn't understand how Alex was able to stand her. I felt bad for him.
Now, let's talk a bit about the romance. I enjoyed it, I really did, but neither Ella nor Alex seemed to like each other so much. It was like Ella was totally in love with Alex, and Alex liked her, which in turn made Ella insecure (again) and tried to block her feelings for Alex. So tiring. The reason I'm giving this book 2 stars is because I loved the ending more than the whole book. The last chapter made me smile a lot of times, so, props to the author. I'm glad at least one thing in this exhausting contemporary was worth it.
Last, but not least, 20% of the book could've been cut out. Sentences, like "I peed. I washed my hands and smelled the Diptyque fig candle." made me want to scream "UNNECESSARY INFORMATION!" over and over. I know I'm probably being a baby right now, but I had to point this out. My eyes kind of bleeded with these sentences.
Overall, I'm extremely disappointed with The Fine Art of Truth or Dare. I don't know how this book got to be compared to Anna and the French Kiss - it has nothing to do with it, seriously -, but I do know a great amount of people are liking it far more than I did. So, to those readers, I'm glad someone out there loved Ella and Alex's story. This just isn't the book for me.