Mundie Moms

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Book Review: The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen

Written by: Melissa Jensen
Publisher: Speak
Release Date: February 16, 2012
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5 stars -- I loved it!

Synopsis: 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?

Honestly, I will never get tired of stories about large families and boys from the other side of town. Never, ever, ever. Melissa Jensen delivers this delicious story wrapped in themes of family, friends and first love and I ate up every rich morsel.
Ella Marino comes from a large, ethnic family -- the loud kind who is always in each other’s business. They run a family restaurant that frankly, I began to daydream about. I swear I could smell the pesto, garlic and tomato sauce wafting through the open back door. This family is one that cares deeply about Ella but they can’t protect her from the biting comments she endures as part of the scholarship student group at the swanky Willing School. To top it all off,  a nickname, which reminds Ella of a horrific childhood accident, follows her to Willing.
Just when you begin to feel awful for her, Melissa surrounds Ella with two wonderful friends, Frankie and Chloe, and you begin to think that perhaps Ella will be okay in spite of the torment inflicted on her by the rich Society Hill crowd. But there are complications, let me break them down for you like Ella would:

TRUTH: Alex Bainbridge is Society Hill’s and Willing’s HotBoyonCampus.
TRUTH: Ella may just like him.
TRUTH: She has a crush on Edward Willing, too. He was a painter whose aunt founded Willing School. He shares Ella’s passion for art and he is a romantic through and through.
TRUTH: Edward Willing died in 1916.
Oh, how I loved what Melissa did by weaving in the Edward Willing subplot. As Ella finds out more about him through her research project and imaginary conversations with him, she finds out more about herself, too.
And don’t worry, Alex Bainbridge is a hottie for a reason. Again, Melissa writes these boys (she did so in Falling in Love with English Boys, too, wait here's a link to my review of FiLwEB) who are not at all what they first appear to be. I won’t spoil it for you; you’ll need to read and decide for yourself.
This book is a perfect beginning-of-summer read. On every page of this story is a scene so beautifully written that I couldn’t help grinning, nodding or wincing in sympathy. With the school year coming to a close, make sure you save some room in your beach bag for The Fine Art of Truth or Dare. In fact, I loved it so much that I’m going to give away a copy below. If you'd like to read an excerpt, Melissa has one on her blog.

Fill out the form HERE to enter a giveaway of TWO (one will be signed!) paperback copies of Melissa Jensen’s The Fine Art of Truth or Dare. One copy per winner; first winner chosen via will win the signed copy. The giveaway will end on May 27, 2012. Our usual contest rules apply. The giveaway is open internationally.


  1. I've been wanting to read this for a while, so I'm glad to hear you really enjoyed it! I don't read a whole lot of contemporary books, but this one sounds like it's a special one--like Anna and the French Kiss or the Summer I Turned Pretty.

    Thanks for the review!

    1. I enjoyed how Melissa layered the plot and let's face it, I'm a character-driven reader and I loved how she wrote them. Hope you enjoy it, too.

  2. Great review Sophie! I sadly have not yet read this book despite picking it up on the day it was released. After reading your review I'm now bumping it up on my list.

    1. Ah yes, so many books, so little time. I ak familiar with that. ;)

    2. * am (where's my coffee?)

  3. I've been wanting to read this one -- looks cute!

  4. It's really well done and unexpectedly layered. Love that.