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
See my previous review of books by Melissa Jensen:
Falling in Love with English Boys