This is an Allison Review!!
The Fine Art of Truth and Dare by Melissa Jensen is the type of book that you could take with you on a trip to the beach, a trip poolside, or even just a trip outside to your back yard and most likely be able to finish it before the end of your trip. It is the perfect summer read. Why? Because it is crazy cute, sweet, and delightful which makes it the perfect book for one to delve into in the upcoming summertime.
Characterization is one thing that makes The Fine Art of Truth or Dare so delectable. First of all there is Ella. Ella is a funny, smart, and creative but, she’s also very insecure. She has bad scaring during one side of her body from a bad burn accident and because of this she has become very quiet and self reserved unless she is around her best friends Frankie and Sadie or her very large Italian family. I loved her interactions with her family. You could tell that they cared very much about each other and their family business even when they were unable to see eye to eye. I also loved her interactions with Frankie and Sadie, both of whom are AWESOME supporting characters, and her interactions with her artwork which is her main passion … well that is until Alex is introduced into her life.
When Alex is first introduced it appears that he is just going to be another typical rich kid who gets hand outs from his parents and who would never be caught dead with a girl like Ella. However, you are quick to learn that appearances can be deceiving, and that actually Alex is nothing like that. If anything, he is the complete opposite. He’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but, he’s sweet and he’s funny and he really does try to do his best and make the best impression that he can. Even though he doesn’t necessarily hang out with the best crowd or have the best track record when it comes to ex-girlfriends.
The crowd that he hangs out with is one of the things that deterred me from Alex a little bit and that may not entirely be his fault. He hangs out with the rich crowd of the school which is also the popular crowd and the crowd that apparently is well known for being bullies. Especially to Frankie. Melissa Jensen indicates on more than one occasion that Frankie has been the victim of homophobic bullying and harassment at the hands of Alex’s friends. Now Alex may or may not have been involved with this bullying as that is never necessarily made clear but, it is made clear that Frankie does not trust Alex and does not want Ella any where near him. It admittedly surprised me and bothered me that Ella never forced the issue of the bullying with Alex or that Alex himself never brought it up, or tried to do something about it, or even apologized for it (without defending his friends). I think it would have brought something extra to the story and maybe would have helped Frankie be more accepting when it came to Ella’s relationship with Alex.
In many ways, The Fine Art of Truth or Dare starts out with a simple game of truth and dare between friends and ends with characters having to discover who they really are outside of the games they play and the things that they do. Both Ella and Alex are in someway forced to question who they are, who their friends and family are, and how all of this is going to influence the decisions that they make both individually and together. As I said before, the characterization of this story is what really makes it work as Ella and Alex come together from their two separate worlds and create something that is sweet and fun and is truly a fine piece of relationship “art”.
Disclosure: Free gift from Oblong Books