Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book Review: The Lipstick Laws, by Amy Holder

The Lipstick Laws is a funny and thought-provoking book about high school girls and cliques. April wants so badly to be in the popular crowd that when Britney pays attention to her, and actually asks her to eat at the popular table, April cannot resist.

The “friendship” escalates, and April goes to great lengths to reinvent herself and conform to Britney’s requirements. Eventually April signs a contract stating that she will follow the seven “Lipstick Laws,” which in April’s opinion serve to only elevate Britney’s status as the most popular girl.

When April breaks one of these laws, she is ostracized, embarrassed, and humiliated repeatedly. Working in a high school myself, I find it hard to believe that these girls were able to reach this level of cruelty without being disciplined. The PE teacher, specifically, was way too naive to be dealing with high school girls.  Matthew, April’s crush, is also too clueless to be believable. But these episodes are necessary to the plot, and can be excused for the story’s sake.

I liked the progression of April. She is out for revenge, forms her own gang of Lipstick Law rejects, and without realizing it, they become much like Britney and her gang.  It takes April a while, but I found her slow realization and maturation to be realistic. The plot is somewhat predictable, but it ends the way one hopes, so that’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

I think high school girls will enjoy this book.  Amy Holder’s story is funny and over the top, but also, hopefully will subconsciously make teens realize how damaging bullying at school can be and also what is the definition of a “friend.”  Don’t get me wrong; this book isn’t deep or preachy. High school years are hard – there’s no doubt about it – and this book, while being entertaining, also has a message.  Maybe it will help some teens to mature a little faster.

Published by Graphia, April 4, 2011
ARC ebook obtained from NetGalley
240 pages

Rating: 3/5

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  1. Great review--I have this one on my Kindle at the moment but haven't gotten to it yet. THANK YOU for the comment about mean girls and how they can reach such a level without anyone catching them. While I appreciate that it probably *feels* that way for many teens, teachers/administrators/faculty are much more aware of what goes on than YA books allow. Usually, faculty members are pretty oblivious in YA books(again, understandable because it feels that way to teens).

  2. I like your comment about how April's group ends up becoming like Brittany and her gang. I agreed with this point and it was a difficulty in the book that April didn't realize that her own actions were much like Brittany's.

  3. Thanks for a fantastic review. I've just started this and am finding it a cute little story. I can definitely see the message of bullying in it.


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