Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Review: Putting Makeup on Dead People

Putting Makeup on Dead People
Jen Violi
2011; Hyperion; ISBN 978-1-4231-3481-7 (hardcover)

Summary:  The death of her father four years earlier has stopped Donna in her tracks.  She's just passing time, watching her mother do the same while her older brother and younger sister have moved on.  Now that Donna is graduating from high school, things are changing.  Her dynamic new friend Liz opens Donna's eyes to strange experiences.  There's a guy that Donna dates and a guy that's just a friend.  The biggest change of all is Donna's decision to forgo the University of Dayton and become a mortician.  As she studies mortuary science and works at a funeral home, Donna begins to learn how to let go.  But when it seems that Donna's mother is doing the same, it slows down her progress.

The difficult process of grieving is handled delicately in this complex novel.  Donna's voice is smart, guarded and hesitant, slowly gaining confidence in herself as she realizes that she can be the amazing person she wants to be.  An interesting aspect of Donna and her family is their strong Catholic faith, which lends an additional richness to Donna's attempts to find closure.  Not only does Donna begin to move on from her father's death, she slowly begins to create a new relationship with her mother, transitioning from child to adult.  This debut novel will find fans among those who enjoyed Better Than Running at Night by Hilary Frank.

Other Reviews
YA Book Nerd:  http://yabooknerd.blogspot.com/2011/03/review-putting-makeup-on-dead-people.html
Reclusive Bibliophile:  http://www.reclusivebibliophile.com/review-putting-makeup-on-dead-people
Bri Meets Books:  http://brimeetsbooks.com/?p=3007

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