Monday, August 15, 2011

Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi

Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jennifer Violi
Hyperion, May 24, 2011
Read for 2011 Debut Author Challenge

Summary from Goodreads:

In the spring of her senior year, Donna Parisi finds new life in an unexpected place: a coffin.
Since her father’s death four years ago, Donna has gone through the motions of living: her friendships are empty, she’s clueless about what to do after high school graduation, and her grief keeps her isolated, cut off even from the one parent she has left. That is until she’s standing in front of the dead body of a classmate at Brighton Brothers’ Funeral Home. At that moment, Donna realizes what might just give her life purpose is comforting others in death. That maybe who she really wants to be is a mortician.
This discovery sets in motion a life Donna never imagined was possible. She befriends a charismatic new student, Liz, notices a boy, Charlie, and realizes that maybe he's been noticing her, too, and finds herself trying things she hadn’t dreamed of trying before. By taking risks, Donna comes into her own, diving into her mortuary studies with a passion and skill she didn’t know she had in her. And she finally understands that moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting someone you love.
Jen Violi’s heartfelt and funny debut novel is a story of transformation—how one girl learns to grieve and say goodbye, turn loss into a gift, and let herself be loving, applying lipstick to corpses, and finding life in the wake of death.
I really wanted to like this book. I loved that it sounds like it could be a paranormal book but it's totally not. I love that the main character decides on a career in mortuary science in part because she's having difficulty getting over her father's death. I love that she's got a great support system in the form of the family who run the local funeral parlor (the same one, in fact, where her father was laid out).

But for some reason I can't really explain, it was a struggle to finish this book. Unfortunately I think the plot moved verrrrryyyy slowly. In addition, I thought the relationship between Donna and her mom was very stereotypical, as was the relationship between Donna and Tim her maybe-boyfriend-that-everyone-except-her-can-see-is-really-a-snake. I did love that Donna had enough confidence in herself to stand up for what she believed in, however. 

I hate writing reviews that aren't overwhelmingly positive, because I don't want my review to turn people away from a book. I always say that it just wasn't for me. And I always ask some of my hard-core teen readers to read what I've read, and gauge their reactions. So this one will be making the rounds at the library, and if they love it, I'll report back to you!

ARC received from publisher.

Enjoy your reading!

1 comment:

  1. Slow plots are the absolute worst, especially when you go into a book hoping to like it based on the summary! Sorry to hear this one wasn't as awesome as you hoped.


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