After Donna Parisi’s father died, Donna became a mopey, empty, lifeless mess. She never felt like she was part of something in high school, and she wasn’t enthusiastic or excited about anything. During her senior year Donna gets accepted into the local college, where everyone else from her high school is going. Her mother decides that Donna will major in Communications, something very sensible and useful. When Liz, (who is open minded, confident, and nice) moves to Donna’s high school in the middle of Donna’s senior year, Donna befriends Liz, and she starts to open up after four years of being closed in to the world. As Donna starts to open up she realizes that she wants to become a mortician and help people go from life to death peacefully. This book is about Donna’s journey and feelings as she becomes a mortician and finally accepts her father’s death.

When I received this book for review I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I was definitely pleasantly surprised, and impressed with Jen Violi’s debut novel. Before I read this book I never thought about someone actually wanting to become a mortician. Putting Makeup On Dead People made me realize the reasons that some people may decide to go into this field. This book also made me think about how when you’re a mortician your not just putting makeup on the deceased and sticking them in a casket, you are also helping the family of the deceased grieve, and in a way (if you believe in this) getting the person ready for their second life.

Putting Makeup On Dead People isn’t all about morticians and death, it has a lot to do with acceptance of other people, family, moving on, and new beginnings. All of the characters in this book were very well developed, and believable. Although I couldn’t relate to Donna all that much, I could understand her thoughts and her outlook on things.

Although Putting Makeup on Dead People wasn’t a bucket of laughs, it was different than most YA books, which made the read enjoyable. Putting Makeup on Dead People wasn’t dense, but it also wasn’t a light pick-me-up type of book. If you’re looking for a book that is a little different than most YA books, has well developed characters, and good writing, I highly recommend Putting Makeup on Dead People!

–Erin, age 14

About the Book:
Title: Putting Makeup on Dead People
Author: Jen Violi
Release Date: 05/2011