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Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley
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Lipstick Apology

by Jennifer Jabaley

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I have been staring at this book forever whenever I stop inside bookstores, but I finally decided to grab it a while back – and then proceeded to stare at it within the comforts of my own home. I am not sure why I put off reading Lipstick Apology for so long, but since I have been on a YA contemporary kick, I decided to give it a go.

THE GOOD BITS
{Life must go on...} Lipstick Apology is a story about a girl trying to move forward after an unspeakable grief. Her parents died in a plane crash – should Emily be worrying about clothes and boys and other teenaged drama? Yes, she is still grieving, but her life must go on in because the world does not truly stop for anyone. I liked the presence of Aunt Jolie who takes on the parental role and virtually becomes a single mother. She is in over her head, but she tries the best she can to do right with her niece and adjusts her living arrangements. Grieving is a work in progress, and I felt that Emily and Aunt Jolie gave their best efforts to deal with the major life changes.

{Believable characters} If I had to describe Lipstick Apology, I would probably say that it seemed honest-to-goodness real. The diversity of teenagers seemed spot-on, and I could relate to all their flaws and vulnerabilities. Or at least picture their real-life counterparts. Yes, even the immature boys who think use their irresistible hotness for evil purposes (such as humiliate a terribly sweet girl with the unfortunate happenstance of crushing on said boy). Nothing too exciting or fantastic, but a slice of life that paints a sincere and realistic portrayal of a girl whose world will never be quite the same again.

THE BAD BITS
{Lack of romance?} There were two contenders for Emily’s heart, but I did not feel that either gave their best efforts. (Spoiler :: The ever-popular Owen seemed nice enough, but I did not feel the wattage of killer green eyes that Emily did. He felt a little flat for me. On the other hand, Anthony had great potential, but he did not have enough pagetime with Emily for me to commit to their relationship.) Which I can see as a positive thing because romance – while great and comforting – may not be the best solution to a grieving heart. I guess I expected more of that romantic tension since the book summary alludes to the boys’ importance.

{Questionable ending?} Naturally I wanted to figure out what Emily’s mother meant with her cryptic EMILY PLEASE FORGIVE ME message. Emily does find out the truth eventually – but again I expected more from the truth than what Lipstick Apology delivered. I do not think Emily gave enough time to digest her mother’s actions, and while the ending may be beautifully wrapped in forgiveness, I have to admit that I am a little put out by it. I can understand and appreciate the end-result, but I feel that Emily rushed into that decision without really talking to anyone about it. If I had been in Emily’s shoes, I think I would have discussed the truth to death with Aunt Jolie at least.

THE OVERALL
Lipstick Apology is a quiet book, and I cannot say that it rocked my world in the same manner as Stephanie Kuehnert or Elizabeth Scott. This book puzzles me. It felt almost too realistic where no one really knows their purpose in life and everyone wonders around semi-confused. The different story elements - Emily's grief versus normal teenage drama versus the mysterious farewell message - did not seem to connect with each other to form a bigger and more satisfying puzzle. ( )
  theepicrat | Dec 10, 2011 |
I couldn't imagine being in Emily's shoes. My best friend finally convinces me to throw a party to get my crush to look over at me and instead of a steamy night of dates promised and maybe a kiss, I get my Aunt from NYC crashing my party to pass on the horrific and knee crumbling news that my parents were killed in a plane crash and my mother left me a mysterious apology written in lipstick on her tray table.

When you read the back of Lipstick Apology you may think that this book is only about a girl's grief, the abrupt changes in her life and hopefully some positive growth, but you truly get more. At least I did.

Jennifer Jabaley painted a world unlike one I've ever lived in when she showed us Emily's transition from Small Town Pennsylvania to NYC. It wasn't only Emily who was adjusting to her new living situation, it was an adjustment for Emily's Aunt Jolie and me as well. The whole dynamic of the story shifted over a few notches and was kicked up into high gear, just like the pace of NYC, adding extra stress to an already almost unbearable situation.

Lipstick Apology flows smoothly from on event and milestone to the next; Emily's loss, moving, makeovers, new school, new friends and boys. Not everything with Lipstick Apology was shadowed by Emily's parent's death, although that is what set the story into motion. Even though Emily had to move on without the love and support of her parents, she was given an opportunity to grow and blossom as a young woman, coming into self confidence she didn't know she had, and proving to her that no matter what the situation she could push through and had a support system of new family and friends to help tug her in the right direction.

There were many laughs throughout Lipstick Apology which took the weight off of the situation. Although this story was slightly cliché with the ugly duckling turning into a beautiful swan and a girl having to choose between two guys, there were deeper seeded emotions that came into play. Don't forget about the mystery lipstick apology that added a whole different facet to this book.

Lipstick Apology was a quick, smooth and easy read which had a perfect mix of deep rooted emotions, typical teenage behavior, and some laughter and love. ( )
  StaceyMacWrites | May 31, 2011 |
Emily's parents just died in a plane crash. Remnants of the crash identified a tray with words written in lipstick, "Emily please forgive me". Emily has no idea what her mother's message meant. She remembers her parents as perfect -- always supportive, down-to-earth, and very present in her life. Now Emily must leave her suburban Pennsylvania town and move to New York City to leave with her aunt and enroll in a very posh private school. Somehow (because that would not have been the case in her old school) she fits right in to popular crowd. Since this is new to her, she finds it appealing and a means to escape the pain in her life. In addition, she also builds a friendship with her slighly nerdy, very funny, sensitive, and insightful chemistry lab partner. At times, she keeps him at a distance because things feel too real when he's around. Ultimately, though, she learns that facing the pain is what helps her heal.

This was an enjoyable story. The mystery surrounding the cryptic apology was interesting. I found some of the choices Emily made frustrating and it was only toward the very end that she started seeing things more clearly. ( )
  noahsmae | Nov 14, 2010 |
this book is amazing!!! it's a must read for people who like to read books about school life and a twinge of mystery. ( )
  ankiiita | Nov 3, 2010 |
One thing is for certain, I didn't expect this novel to be as funny as it is. While death, love, dishonesty, and loss are all major themes at play in Lipstick Apology, the I managed to laugh just as much as I cried while reading it. There's not much of a plot here - the story is more about how Emily deals and grows once her life has been turned upside down.

Emily is a typical teenager thrust into a tragic situation and all of her behaviors and actions are believable and fall well in-line with her circumstances. I especially enjoyed witnessing her relationship with her aunt Jolie grow during the course of the story. Sometimes her reactions and interactions with Jolie seemed a bit melodramatic, but it makes sense coming from a girl her age...

...Continue reading this review at The Eclectic Book Lover. ( )
  Jac8604 | Mar 24, 2010 |
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After her parents' sudden death, sixteen-year-old Emily leaves Pennsylvania for her aunt's New York City apartment, private school, and disconcerting new relationships, all the while puzzling over her mother's mysterious apology to her.

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