I’m still in the mood for lighter fiction. So, this week I picked up an ARC of The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen. It’s not my usual fare (as you regular readers can tell). It’s not Fantasy or Paranormal or Dystopian or dark or bleak. It’s not depressing at all. Surprise surprise!
What this book is, however, is quirky. But in a good way. It’s a delightful, oddball combination that I enjoyed quite a lot.
In Fine Art we follow Ella, demure and cautious Ella. Ella lives in Philly with her family, a robust Italian crew who own a restaurant. Ella attends the Willing School and has a bizarre relationship with Edward Willing, an Artist who made an impact on Philadelphian society. Edward has been dead for some time, but that doesn’t stop Ella from conversing with him on a nightly basis through his art, and her own.
Ella’s attraction to art leads her to Alex Bainbridge, one of the Phillites in her school. Ella’s self-confidence is low due to an accident in her youth that left her scarred and (she believes) disfigured. There is no way a girl like her could ever be noticed by Alex Bainbridge unless it’s as the other Phillites see her – a deformed freak. Particularly since he has a girlfriend, and Ella is invisible to him.
This book is completely beguiling. It’s such a delightful read. There’s so much flavour and spice to this story that it should be bottled. The characters are all excellent. There are so many people to fall in love with, so much charm. I also appreciate any author who, in so many words, can nail my exact opinion on the book Gulliver’s Travels. Fine Art deals with so many themes – family relationships, delusions, friendship, strength in one’s convictions, believing in yourself. It’s a perfect coming-into-your-own novel. I loved it. Art and food and Edith Wharton references…What’s not to love? If Jensen would have only referenced Egon Schiele she would have hit the last of my squee buttons. We had Klimt though. That’s just as good.
5 out of 5 stars. And I adored Frankie!
* The Fine Art of Truth or Dare releases February 16th, 2012.
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