Genres: YA Contemporary
Sometimes a good-bye is just the beginning.
When Emily Carson’s parents die in a plane crash, she’s left with nothing but her mother’s last words scrawled in lipstick on a tray table: Emily, please forgive me.
Now it’s fall and Emily moves to New York City, where she attracts the attention of two very different boys: the cute, popular Owen, and her quirky chemistry partner, Anthony. With the help of some surprising new friends, Emily must choose between the boy who helps her forget and the one who encourages her to remember, and ultimately heal.
Debut author Jennifer Jabaley has written a wonderful, feel-good romantic comedy with real emotional depth. Full of lovably wacky characters, Lipstick Apology is a heartwarming story about the true meaning of forgiveness.
This started out as the typical dead-parents book with an extra helping of cheese and a love triangle. It quickly turned into a shallow mess rife with personally offensive slut shaming and bereft of any sort of driving force to make readers reach the end of the novel. I would sooner throw this novel in a lake than read another page of it. That’s how much it offended me.
The kindest thing that I can say is what I stated above: that this is a typical dead-parents novel. Emily is hurting, her new guardian is doing the best she can, Emily has to make new friends and adjust to a new world, she’s falling in love,… Blah. It quickly falls into the pitfalls of insta-love and letting the romance take over the novel when it should be about Emily moving on from her parents’ deaths. Worse, this comes with a love triangle too. Trope city!
All of the characters are one-dimensional and shallow. Emily is concerned about stupid things I think she’d be beyond after losing her parents (I sure wouldn’t care about what I looked like after my parents died in a horrific plane crash) and her two friends are irritating. Carly exists to deliver an anvilicious message and the whole story arc involving her made me roll my eyes. The love interests were blah, the adults were blah, the side characters were blah… I think you know where I’m going.
Everything beyond that is vile. Slut shaming is everywhere in this novel, both implicit and explicit. The cocktail waitress, the secretary, the restaurant waitress, and more people than I am willing to go back and count are called sluts, trashy, whores, tramps, and too many other synonyms. For what? For doing something someone doesn’t like or having a specific body type. At one point, a girl is described only by her DD boobs, how easy she is, and how she needs a home ec tutor as if all three of those are factors in why she’s such a slut.
This whole paragraph is TMI city right here, but I happen to have DD breasts and this book acting like this makes someone a slut brought back debilitating memories of all the harassment I’ve received because of the body type I was born with and didn’t get to choose. A body type doesn’t make a person a slut. NOTHING makes a person a slut. Got it? At that point, Lipstick Apology was very lucky I didn’t toss it in a trash can or drown it. I was determined to finish this book to see if anyone learned that slut shaming is wrong, but I finished it and no one ever did. None of it plays a role in anyone’s character development or in the story itself, so the author has no excuse for including any of it. No one would have called it unrealistic if there was no slut shaming.
They even threw in some victim blaming! Emily is blamed for putting herself in that situation when, after she takes a pain pill for her jaw, her boyfriend Owen serves her some alcoholic drinks that she didn’t know were alcoholic. She never expected to be drinking alcohol either. A bad reaction of the alcohol and the medicine ensues. Instead of riding Emily about “putting herself in that situation,” someone should be kicking Owen in the nuts for PUTTING her in that situation and serving her alcohol without telling her.
Jabaley’s second novel Crush Control is in my possession as well, but I will never be reading it. I refuse to read anymore books by an author who has a character act like a girl’s specific body type is part of what makes her a tramp without anyone objecting to that slut-shaming and the sheer fallacious nature of such a statement.