Review : Lipstick Apology

Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley
Pages : 321
Genre : YA, Fiction
Stand Alone
My Rating :

From the author’s website :

Emily Carson has always been a good girl. So when she throws a party the night her parents leave for vacation, she’s sure she’ll get busted. What Emily doesn’t know is that her parents will never return. That their plane will go down. And the only thing left amidst the wreckage will be a tray table with the words: Emily please forgive mescrawled in lipstick—her mother’s last words.

Now it’s fall in New York City and Emily’s trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Her public tragedy captures the attention of more than just the media—and soon two very different boys at her new school are pursuing her: the cute, popular Owen and the quirky chemistry partner slash pastry-baker-by-night, Anthony. But even with such delicious distractions, Emily can’t let go of her mother’s mysterious apology. Does she have the courage to face the truth?

Lipstick Apology could have been a beautiful novel about grief and identity; instead, I found it to be a predictable story told by a rather unlikable narrator.

Predictability in itself isn’t exactly a bad thing; sometimes, I need the comfort of knowing exactly where a book is going. Still, there needs to be an element of surprise, something that makes the book stand out : a different character, a sense of humor, a clever writing, a different setting… but I didn’t find that Lipstick Apology gave me that. The story was predictable, but the characters were even more cliché and one-dimensional. If at least New York city had played a bigger role; sadly, I felt like places were named without giving me a real feel of the city.

Seeing Emily go through her grief was kind of annoying. I feel bad and mean saying this, because what she had gone through was simply horrible, but I didn’t believe in her grief, and those strong, emotional scenes when her emotions got the best of her just seemed theatrical – which made it hard to sympathize with her. I also found that she spent more time obsessing about the boys than thinking about her parents, and while it was nice to see that she could go on with her life, as a reader, I wanted to know more about the famous lipstick apology.

Finally, I was a bit bored by the facility money brought to the story. Emily is making a new life in a new city after loosing her parents, but lucky for her, her aunt is a Very Famous Makeup Artist with Lots of Money. As a result, she gets a complete makeover and the most popular girl at her new school becomes her best friend just like that. Hmmm.

Lipstick Apology isn’t a bad book in itself. The writing was okay, and the story, generally speaking, was okay too. I couldn’t find Emily’s connection to her parents, which I thought should have been essential. By comparison, I found If I stay to be a much more realistic (and more beautiful, too) exploration of a teen’s grief after loosing her parents.

So, I guess it just wasn’t the book for me, but despite my disappointment, I have no doubt it could be appreciate by other readers! See, as a proof, those great reviews by other readers :

  • The Book Muncher : “I don’t think I’ve read another book that promotes forgiveness so effectively.”
  • Bookworm Readers : “The vortex-like plot was addicting, beautifully written, and realistic, and I really like how Ms. Jabaley added a mystery subplot to it (Emily finding out why her mom was sorry) without being cheesy and false.”
  • The Compulsive Reader : “Jennifer Jabaley has packed an incredible amount of emotion within the novel—from grief to the exhilaration of first love—and she has created a dynamic, fallible, and likable heroine in Emily.”
  • The Eclectic Book Lover : “While death, love, dishonesty, and loss are all major themes at play in Lipstick Apology, I managed to laugh just as much as I cried while reading it.”

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3 responses to “Review : Lipstick Apology”

  1. bermudaonion says :

    Thanks for your review – I think I’ll skip this one.

  2. Jennifer says :

    I’ll probably skip this one. Most books that address ideas of grief are hit or miss for me. Grief and the recovery process is something difficult to capture right (at least, for me it is). I frequently get annoyed with characters who aren’t grieving the way I want them to (sure, it sounds bad, but it’s so true!). Still, thanks for the honest review. I appreciate your perspective.

  3. Jodi says :

    I actually really liked this one. I’ve let a few people borrow it and they liked it too

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