Author: Melissa Jensen
Publication Date: February 16, 2012
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Source: ARC Tour
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?
The characters are clever and fun. Ella has conversations with a dead local artist and draws, mostly architectural structures like doors. She draws everywhere - on paper, on her jeans, on her walls, on her bed. She is quirky and fun but has a lot of depth as well. She suffers severe insecurity due to a scar on her neck that is the result of a hot water burn from when she was younger, and it affects her confidence and personality. Alex is a victim of his parents' expectations. He struggles with what is expected of him versus what he wants for himself. Their backgrounds and families are different, but they share an interest in art. It's entertaining to witness the way in which their interactions evolve and the effects that they have on each other. Ella's friends and family are awesome and often hilarious. Frankie and Sadie have some of their own issues to deal with, but they're always there for Ella. I really appreciated the dynamics of their little trio. Ella's grandmother is pretty awesome as well. Her whole family is crazy and fun.
The pacing is leisurely, but doesn't drag. It's adorable and emotional and, at times, heartbreaking to witness Ella's thought processes and how she lets her scar hold her back. Almost every character is going through some sort of struggle that gives each of them an authenticity and gives the reader reasons to care about them as people. Ella and Alex have some seriously adorable moments between them.
I really enjoyed The Fine Art of Truth or Dare. It has a great balance of quirky, fun, lighthearted adorableness and serious, thoughtful, issues that people can relate to. It tells an adorable story capable of warming hearts, and still includes some important stuff without letting the issue stuff cast a shadow on the cute stuff. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a feel good contemporary read that still contains some quality commentary on normal teenage (or any age) issues.