I’m apparently one of the few people who thinks New Adult has a lot of potential to be legitimately good. I realize that a lot of people who dislike NA have read a lot of really bad NA titles, and unfortunately there do seem to be a lot of bad outweighing the good in that instance. The Art of Love is one of the good. It’s everything NA wishes it could be, and what it should be. The biggest praise I have is that Fitz is not a romanticized abusive “bad boy”. He’s a little strange, sure, but he’s a normal dude who loves art and actually listens when a woman says “no” and respects her choices. Shocking, I know. It’s sad how I feel that I have to praise this as something noteworthy, but there it is. It’s also refreshingly honest, tackling the idea of love at first sight more often than not being lust at first sight instead. Marina starts off as the typical YA/NA lead girl, who thinks poorly of herself and her looks, but there are actual legitimate reasons for her to behave and think this way. She’s not some middle class privileged girl being made to think she’s ugly so she’s relatable to the reader; she has a history to back this up, and her struggles at overcoming it were painfully well written. There were times when the book told us instead of showed us her past, but thankfully they were very few. But better than that, Marina has actual character growth and development. She changes from who she starts off as in the beginning, though she doesn’t completely recover all in one fell swoop. She grows, but she still has a lot of growing left to do by the end of the book. This is such a breath of fresh air compared to what we usually get in a book like this. And while there are a lot of hormones raging and lust and sexy thoughts, the sex isn’t the major focus of the book unlike a lot of other NA. It really is more interested in Marina’s journey and her struggles to find herself, as well as her relationships with not just Fitz but her new friends in New York City, too. There were some scenes and characters that felt a little tacked on--a guy Fitz is apparently rivals with has a scene that adds nothing to the overall plot of the book, as another character ends up being the one to drive the conflict in the end--but they don’t really detract from the book.That being said, the conflict was a little weak and forced. I had a hard time believing no one thought of making one little call to resolve the issue, instead of trying to disguise Marina and obviously setting up the end of the book. But I'm willing to overlook that in favour of everything else this book does right. I’m really happy I read The Art of Love, and I’m very much looking forward to whatever else Anne Whitney has to offer in the future.See more of my reviews at On The Nightstand!