Release Date: February 16, 2012
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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?
There is a certain hierarchy at Ella's high school. The Phillites, Bees, Stars and Invisibles — she's part of the Invisibles, but it's not so bad with her friends Sadie and Frankie. They've been playing "Truth or Dare" regularly for over two year. There are only two rules: never ever lie and no dares that will cause the type of humiliation that follows you for life.
Ella has two crushes. Alex Bainbridge — a Phillite (top of the social ladder) and as gorgeous as he is smart and Edward Willing — an artist, a romantic and hot. He's not a Phillite, but Ella thinks the chances of being with Alex are just as non-existent as they are with Edward — who died in 1916.
Ella is such a sweet character. She's not loud and "bigger than life" like her family — who are great. At first I thought she was just a shy person who does what she cans to stay under everybody's radar, but there is a reason why she doesn't like being noticed that causes people to stare. It's why Alex genuinely thought her name was something else. I wasn't always a fan of Alex. There were a couple incidences that I wish he would have handled differently, but he is a nice guy and I saw in the end the times when I questioned his character, he was just trying to be nice to people who don't necessarily deserve it — making him a better person than most.
The conversations between Ella and a portrait bust of Edward Willing were fun. Thinking an inanimate object is talking could come across as crazy, but talking to Edward was just an unusual form of Ella thinking things out loud. He never said anything that she wasn't thinking herself — consciously or not.
There was a mysterious element to this story that was a pleasant surprise. While researching Edward in the archives for a school project, Ella finds something between the frayed pages of a bound book that might knock him off the pedestal she's put him on. It was great reading how she unravels the mystery and the epiphany she has along the way.
I enjoyed The Fine Art of Truth or Dare. I thought it would be a quick, fun and cute read — which it was, but also more.