young adult book reviews & more

Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley

Lipstick ApologyEmily wants to start the summer with a bang, so she throws a party the night her parents leave for vacation. The party is unceremoniously interrupted by bad news: the plane her parents were on has crashed, and there are no survivors. Now, all that’s left of them is a hastily scribbled message on a tray table from Emily’s mom reading “Emily please forgive me.” Struck with grief and baffled by her mother’s mysterious apology, Emily’s life is a huge mess, and when she moves in with her aunt who lives in New York City, Emily has an entire new world to adjust to. Emily tries her best to assimilate, forget, and move on. She’s accepted into the popular crowd and captures the interest of Owen, the hottest guy in school. But forgetting might not be the answer or even an option since reminders are everywhere. It’ll take Emily’s untraditional new family, a chemistry partner who’s more like Emily than she thinks, and a whole lot of courage for Emily to face the truth and ultimately heal.

Lipstick Apology is a pretty interesting and original story idea that expresses age-old concepts such as family and forgiveness in a fresh way. The death of Emily’s parents is what this novel centers on, but the story is less about grief and learning to let go than it is about forgiveness and healing. On one hand, I was seriously confused why Emily never seemed to mourn her dad and how her grieving was actually a rather minor part of the story; on the other, I don’t think I’ve read another book that promotes forgiveness so effectively. Jabaley has actually given me and entire new perspective on forgiving, which I appreciate. However sweet the story or message was, though, the mechanics of this novel could have been better. It seemed strange to me how Emily desired to be popular while she also wanted to be kind and generous; in fact, the whole popularity angle was really unnecessary and insignificant to the novel, and I don’t even know why it was included. Emily’s dealing with her parents’ deaths was also somewhat unusual. Sometimes, I didn’t even understand Emily’s character at all, but I’ll just chalk it up to adolescence (hers, not mine). Most of the other characters would have been improved as well, with the exception of Emily’s Aunt Jolie, who was well-written and realistic. Despite the mediocre characters and predictable plot, I genuinely enjoyed Lipstick Apology because its story and message is so sweet.

Lipstick Apology is not too bad for a debut, and I look forward to seeing what Jabaley has in store next. This novel will be enjoyed by fans of The Day I Killed James by Catherine Ryan Hyde, And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman , and One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin.

Rating: 3.75

Review copy from publisher Penguin

3 munch(es) :

Kelsey said...

I have this book one my TBR shelf. It looks really good. Nice review.

Tales of Whimsy said...

Great review. Seriously.

Serena said...

I like the title of this book...and I would never have guessed from the title what this book was about. Fascinating.

Great review

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