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review 2017-03-06 22:05
The Fine Art of Truth or Dare (Review)
The Fine Art of Truth or Dare - Melissa Jensen

(This is what it looks like when I graduate from college and I finally come off hiatus with my reviews!)


Anyway, so it’s been about a year and a half since I finished this book, which is shameful, I know. Unfortunately, my notes while reading this were not spectacular, so I will not be going into a lot of detail with my review here. I did enjoy The Fine Art of Truth or Dare, but I suppose one of the tests of how good a book is is how much you can recall its story and characters long after it’s over. The Fine Art of Truth or Dare has not really kept its place in my head very clearly, which is one of the reasons I didn’t give it a perfect rating. It was fairly average in storyline and character development, so it’s easily forgettable. (To be honest, I don’t remember the “truth or dare” part of this at all, which does not bode well for the memorability of this story.)


The Fine Art of Truth or Dare is about a girl named Ella who is obsessed with an old artist named Edward Willing—and I do mean obsessed. Although I completely understand her fascination with a long-dead artist, it took up way too much of the plot. I felt like more time was spent on uncovering the true life of Edward Willing than on Ella’s budding relationship with Alex. It’s not that I thought it made Ella unrealistic or I didn’t think it was interesting—I’d been going through similar experiences with one of my long-dead idols, Edgar Allan Poe, discovering his life was not quite the dramatic tragedy I’d wanted it to be—but it didn’t have a place in this particular story. It made it terribly difficult to root for the main couple of the novel when so much time was spent away from the characters’ interactions together.


That being said, I obviously still enjoyed the book quite a bit, and I think I would read it again someday. Ella’s friends, Sadie and Frankie, are so wonderfully written, and I found myself relating much more to Sadie than Ella, hahah. Ella’s self-consciousness and fears about liking someone who seems so far above her will be relatable to many teenagers who have felt inadequate while having a crush. The whole narration was certainly much better than many young adult novels out there right now, and it’s good if you’re looking for something light-hearted, but done fairly well.


See the full thing on my blog!


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text 2016-01-01 09:55
Reviews to Come
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
Blur - Steven James
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling,Stephen Fry
Coin Heist - Elisa Ludwig
East of Eden - John Steinbeck
The Choice - Nicholas Sparks
The Fine Art of Truth or Dare - Melissa Jensen
Who I Kissed - Janet Gurtler
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahame-Smith
The Fill-In Boyfriend - Kasie West

Well, 2015 was kind of a bust as far as reviewable books goes.


Don't let the read count fool you: I read about twelve books for one class in one semester at the beginning of the year, which were all YA/middle grade. I read about five or six books roughly for each English class I take, and multiply that by three and a half semesters in 2015, about three classes each semester with that kind of reading load. I read a lot in 2015. But somehow, I ended up with only about seventeen or so books I felt like I could actually review.


I read a lot of classics, things I'd been wanting to get to for awhile and finally got to read in class, as well as some young adult stuff for some more genre-specific classes I took. I read more than anyone else I know in school right now, and although it's been tough to read for fun and I've had to take a major break from reviewing in the past year, it wasn't because I wasn't reading. But I had to jump from book to book so quickly that I could hardly process enough to want to write a review for what I read, and it seemed so haphazard to only write reviews for a handful of them.


So I decided to scrap all the books I read for class last year and write reviews when I eventually reread them--on my own time. There are lots of books I read for class that I'll want to revisit (like Tess of the D'Urbervilles, for instance), and others I probably won't ever attempt again (like The Bone People). And although it means that my "read count" for challenges both here and on GoodReads make it seem like I barely made a dent in my 70 book goal, I think I easily read that many books in 2015, although it won't show in my reviews.


I am making a goal for 2016 to be better. I'm going to be super busy for awhile, at least through this semester (which ends at the end of February). I'm in a musical, I'm a vice president in a club, I'm a part-time employee, I'm helping to judge a book award, and I'm a straight-A student. I turned twenty-one yesterday, so my new years' resolutions usually hold a heavier weight for me because I'm also looking toward a new year of my life, and another kind of fresh start. I'm saddened by the fact that my love for reading has become more work than pleasure, so I'm determined to make sure I read at least one chapter of something not for school each day so I can keep up with my passion and the books I've accumulated. It's probably best for me to set small goals, especially because I recently went on a book buying binge, and now I can look forward to 2016 by reading books I've put on hold a long time. 


So, here's to the new year! I'll be reading more (although I set a more reasonable pleasure goal at 30 for this year--even my summer break will be shorter than usual, and I'll have graduated by Halloween), and I'll be getting to books I've wanted for read for a long time. I've started Fellowship of the Ring over again because Tolkien just makes me downright happy, but I'm getting new stuff in as well. All in all, I'm excited for what 2016 and being twenty-one brings me. Above are the first ten reviews I'll be writing for stuff I read in 2015 (for fun). 


Thanks for all your patience this year, and here's to progress!

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text 2015-07-14 02:03
The Fine Art of Truth or Dare - Melissa Jensen

Well...not the ideal ending, in my book, but it was still a good read. The focus on Edward died down a bit, and although I desperately wanted more adorableness out of the main couple, I was relatively satisfied with where they ended up. It was a pretty reflection of how this would probably play out in real life.


Four stars!

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text 2015-07-13 20:31
292 of 380 (77%)
The Fine Art of Truth or Dare - Melissa Jensen

Okay, now we're going somewhere! But I mean...come on! I wanted more from the the first kiss than a vague description that left me wondering if it'd even happened!


Now that Ella has discovered Edward Willing wasn't exactly who she thought (hoped) he was, I kind of understand her a bit more on this front. Ella figuring out that Edward didn't necessarily stay single the rest of his life after his wife died is, actually, the same sort of deflated reaction I had when realized Edgar Allan Poe's only love was not Virginia, but also Sarah Royster before his death. I get it. Realizing the artists you'd hoped nothing but the light of true love had guided were just as human as everyone else kind of sucks.


HOWEVER, despite how much I do relate to Ella's feelings right now, there's also a reason I've never tried to write a book about being disappointed by Edgar Allan Poe's second love (or, I suppose in his case, a return to his first love, which still stings more than I care to admit). It doesn't add any progress to this particular story, and while I find it interesting, less weight should be given to it. I want to focus on Alex, not Edward Willing, thank you very much.


(Can we also stop using random words and phrases in various French and Italian? I really don't have any idea what's going on sometimes, and I'd prefer not to have to Google translate.)

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text 2015-07-13 08:20
157 of 380 (41%)
The Fine Art of Truth or Dare - Melissa Jensen

Well, I still like it, but there are... well, there are "buts" about that.


I don't really like the immense tie in to the artist Ella is obsessed with, Edward Willing. I just don't get the appeal of him. I mean, we just spent a chapter dedicated to reading random papers in the elusive Willing archive. I just don't get the point. Ella talks to his picture, obsesses over details about him--there's even excerpts from his letters to his wife strewn throughout the narration. And Alex is basically a blip on the map right now, which doesn't really leave me a lot of time to cheer the two of them on as a main couple. Just...more chick lit, less random art references? 

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