The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen
"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?"- summary from Amazon
I loved Jensen's debut a lot and have been looking forward to her second since then. I thought this was a really cute story but I felt like it dragged a lot, at least in the first half. The book is 380 pages long, which is probably the longest romantic comedy I've read, and the length shows. I thought there were some scenes that just didn't need to be there.
I did like Ella as a character because she's just such a realistic teen girl, I think. She has plenty of flaws and insecurities but she has the ability to be an awesome self-actualized woman. I loved her friendships with Sadie and Frankie, particularly Frankie because he's gay and we got to see a bit of his love life too, which was nice. They all had such a warm, strong friendship and I love seeing that in books.
The art aspect was really cool and interesting, and it's always fun to see a main character really into something. Her conversations with Edward were pretty funny (ok, and maybe a little bit insane). But the real relationship is with Alex and I loved seeing their relationship go from first hello to full-on dating over several months. It's handled really well too and is believable.
Overall, a good book and at a great price too- $9! I do recommend this, but I will say I do recommend her debut Falling in Love with English Boys a bit more.
FTC: Received ARC from author (signed!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.