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Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi

Putting Makeup on Dead PeopleEver since her father died four years ago, Donna has felt a little lost. She barely knows how to deal with her friends, let alone her own mother, and she has no idea what she wants to do after high school. Her lingering grief has prevented her really feeling anything or even caring. It isn’t until she’s standing in front of a classmate’s dead body at Brighton Brothers’ Funeral Home that she realizes that she does care. She cares about honoring the deceased and comforting others in the wake of death—she cares so much she might want to be a mortician. This realization gives Donna’s life a whole new purpose and meaning. She finds herself opening up, making new friends, and discovering new things about old ones. Nobody else understands her choice in profession, but Donna knows that learning about and respecting the dead is where she needs to be, and that it may be the only way for her to come to terms with losing her father.

Putting Makeup on Dead People is a beautiful story of loss and love. Violi portrays protagonist Donna so wonderfully; as a result, I was drawn to her story from the very first page. Donna can be funny, but what really struck me was how shy, insecure, and scared she mostly felt. These are emotions that every teen has grappled with, in this and other capacities, and they make Donna feel all the more realistic to the reader. The plot is admittedly a little slow, but that’s because the main focus of the story is one Donna’s growth as a person, especially in how she deals with friendship, her family, and romantic relationships. It was certainly a beautiful process to watch as Donna found strength within herself to stand up and pursue what she believed in as well as find the humility to admit her wrongs. Rich with emotion and vividly believable characters, Putting Makeup on Dead People is a thoughtful and very well written debut from an author to watch.

Putting Makeup on Dead People will be enjoyed by readers who also liked The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, and A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell.

Rating: 4.5

Review copy from publisher Disney-Hyperion

1 munch(es) :

Heather Zundel said...

I saw this at the library and was so intrigued. It is such a different concept. I would love to get my hands on a copy.

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