Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Review: Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi

Putting Makeup on Dead People
by Jen Violi
Publication Date: May 24th 2011
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9781423134817
Source: OUaT Book Tours

Where to Buy:
B&N | Amazon | BAM | Borders | The Book Depository

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 exceptional...at loving, applying lipstick to corpses, and finding life in the wake of death. -Goodreads
I really didn’t know what to expect when I started reading Putting Makeup on Dead People, Jen Violi’s debut young adult novel. Given the subject line, I was worried this book was going to be a bit grim. It wasn’t. The book is very original, I can’t say that I have read anything quite like it up to this point.

The main character, Donna, is very well written. Although she’s grieving and sad, she still has a humorous side. She’s pretty much an introvert, and I can totally relate to that. I was a little worried in the beginning that she was going to be a whiney character, but she definitely grew throughout the book. She knew what she wanted to do with her future, and she went after it, even when it’s not the future her mother wants for her. I admire that. The secondary characters were ok, but were not as in-depth as Donna. I like Charlie, and wish we could have known more about her friend Liz. Kudos to the mom, we really see her grow throughout the book.

The pacing in the book is a bit slow, but I still managed to read the book pretty quickly. The storyline is unique and believable. I would probably recommend this book to the older YA crowd, because it does have some talk of sex in it. There is also some religious talk in the book. I know some people are bothered by that, but it didn’t bother me at all.

Overall, this is a quick, and very unique read that I really enjoyed!

Courtesy of:


  1. Great review! I have been really unsure about reading this one. I am not completely sure that it would be something that I would enjoy. The slow pacing stuff bothers me a little, but I might give it a shot!

  2. I don't know much about this book but I've heard about it before. I am glad you liked it. I am curious now to maybe check it out!

  3. This book has really piqued my interest. I love the cover!! I'll be adding this to my wishlist. Happy reading.

  4. Donna does sound like a very admirable character. I think I could relate to her introverted side too. I'm glad to know this book have a very original concept that works. Thanks for letting us know about it.

  5. Nice review. I've had this one from Netgalley for a while but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I like that you thought it was original. It's always fun to read something different. :)

  6. To be honest, I'm not sure if I can handle reading about being a mortician. I was afraid of my basement after watching My Girl where Vada's baskebtball rolled down the stairs.

    But kudos to the author for such a refreshing story.

  7. I have seen this books around for a while but I've never been sure whether this would be something I enjoy - the whole "mortician-thing" put me off a little bit. So thanks a lot for your review, I might keep it in mind now and maybe try it! :)


  8. Great review! I think this sounds like a very interesting book. I need to check it out!

  9. Good review, I gotta say this didn't really appeal much to me but I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  10. I got this one from NetGalley but I haven't read it because, well, Disney doesn't like the Kindle button and I have a hard time reading for a long period on the computer. But maybe I'll have to give it a shot! Thanks for the great review. :)
    Happy reading,
    Mary @ Book Swarm

  11. I am number 5 no PBS for this one. I'm DYING to read it, I wish people would hurry up and enter them it into the system, lol. Good review, you made me even more anxious to read it. :)

  12. Great review, insightful and interesting!

    Donna sounds like a great character and despite the title, the book sounds really good. I could've gotten this one off Netgalley but they don't do Kindle and I hate reading off my computer with a passion. Sounds as if this one would've been worth it!

    Thanks for sharing!


  13. I love your reviews!!! I also love your blog! it's super original and pretty. I am new to the blogging world, so if you get a chance stop by my blog:



Thanks for stopping by! :)