Lipstick Apology

First Lines: Steve McCaffity just undressed me with his eyes.  Okay, maybe I’m still clothed, but we definitely made eye contact.  Well, actually, he might have only glanced at the tiny chocolate stain on my V-neck–so it was noticeable.  I decided to level with myself.  It was actually quite possible that Steve McCaffity didn’t even know that I existed.

This is one of those books I found so long ago online or in a store that I don’t even remember why it first appealed to me.  It’s been on my to-read list for ages, and I decided that it was finally time I did something about it.  (I’m making good progress on this goal of reading older books.)

It only took a moment and four words to change Emily’s life forever.  One minute, she’s dancing at a party.  The next, she learns her parents have been killed in a plane crash.  The only thing her mother left was an apology written in lipstick that said “Emily, please forgive me.”  Only Emily doesn’t know why.  She’s uprooted from her Pennsylvania home to live with her aunt in New York City, which is nothing like the world Emily used to know.  At school, she catches the attention of two completely different boys: Anthony, the baker-by-night who is her first friend at her new school, and Owen, the most beautiful and most popular boy in their class.  Ultimately, Emily will have to choose between the boy who makes her forget and the boy who helps her remember and heal.

Ok.  So maybe you caught this as you were reading the description.  The tone of the story shifts drastically from the beginning to the end.  When I started this, I really thought it was going to be more of a mystery.  Why did Emily’s mom write the apology?  What did she need forgiveness for?  However, even though this was big enough to become the title of the book, it took a back seat to the romance.  That was disappointing.

I was also a bit disappointed that this story took a turn for the shallow end of emotions after a while.  Instead of really diving into the theme of forgiveness, it became a book of “OMG, did you see what she was wearing?  Hey, let’s go get facials!”  As a reader who isn’t much of a girly-girl, this was really annoying really quickly.

Now, Emily has some very real struggles in her life.  I mean, she just lost her parents and the only home she’s ever known.  That would be enough to put me in a nearly-permanent bad mood, at least for a few months.  And Emily handled things pretty well.  You put on top of that living with an aunt who has no idea how to be a mother, a new school, and figuring out how NYC works, and Emily is justified to have a few outbursts.  (Which she does, occasionally.)  I really felt some sympathy for her.

That was one thing this book did pretty well: characters were varied and unique.  Their relationships felt real.  Emily and her aunt don’t always have things in common, nor do they always understand each other, but you come to understand each of them.  And the love interests are as different as night and day without being over-the-top.  Emily’s friends are all over the map.  I felt by the end of the story that I had a fairly good grasp on who everyone was, personality-wise.  So that was really good.

Overall, I just misjudged what I thought this book would be about.  I wanted more of a mystery, but what I got was a romance.

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