Everyone who has seen me with this book in hand has commented on the cover. It's strange, right? Upside down face with flowers. Then you read the title: Putting Makeup On Dead People. And you think, what? That's a dead person on the cover! The title and the cover are both captivating. I was really excited when I won this book from April at My Shelf Confessions! Thanks, April!Confession time: I lost my stepfather, a man who had been in my life as a father figure for a long time, when I was just 23 years old after four years of battling cancer. I think as we get older, we accept that our parents won't be around forever, but 23 is too young to lose a parent. Even when you've had time to prepare. Because no one is prepared. And to be quite honest, it's harder on the survivors than those who slowly pass away, because we have to live with the after. "After" can be quite a bitch. And that's why Putting Makeup On Dead People sucked me right in. Told in the first person, it follows the story of Donna Parisi, a senior in high school, as she deals with the aftermath of losing her father four years earlier. She has friends, and yet she still feels lost and alone. She attends church with her mother and siblings, but she's a robot going through the motions. I identified with her on so many levels. Everything she felt, I felt. Jen Violi writes such a terrific, heartening story of finding oneself, carefully weaving the fabric of it for our own pleasure. Violi MUST be Italian; she nailed the Italian-American family right on the head, describing the wails of loss, and family members virtually throwing themselves into loved ones' graves, not to mention the extended family dynamics. It all felt really, really familiar. Putting Makeup On Dead People is excellent. More than just a first-person story, it also details the transformation teenagers go through as they reach through youth to adulthood and begin making their own decisions. Life's hard, and sometimes we don't realize it until we feel like we're all we've got, teaching ourselves self-sufficiency. Donna, in particular, decides to scrap University of Dayton, the institution where she has already been accepted, and attend mortuary school. Death fascinates her and I think she yearns to understand it on a level some of us never will. I liked how each chapter ended: with a short memo of the funeral of the moment. Those were like little candies hidden throughout the novel, and I laughed at most of them, because frankly, people can really be that ridiculous!If you enjoy Young Adult, and don't mind a slightly morbid flair, grab this right now and go read it. I promise you won't be disappointed.