Thursday, July 31, 2014

REVIEW: Making Faces by Amy Harmon


Before I begin I need to say this book struck a personal cord with me almost instantaneously. It wasn't with Ambrose... or even Bailey (oh sweet Bailey). It hit a personal note with getting to know Fern Taylor. *
"If God made all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?"

She's small, pale faced and freckled, with red hair that she laments and braces. Often overlooked by every boy in her class, she is keenly aware that she isn't pretty and she is certain of the fact that she will never be. She is addicted to romance novels living vicariously through them somewhat reminding us that she feels that she will never be able to live it for herself. The one person she's loved for over a decade is far too beautiful to ever love her back...

"It's hard to come to terms with the fact that you aren't ever going to be loved the way you want to be loved."

Ambrose Young, the herculean like young man that their whole town idolizes for his natural ability as a wrestler. Ambrose is tall (really tall), dark and broodingly handsome with a voice that sounds like dark chocolate.
(Got that visual? Okay, just checking) 

When the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center occur and rock their small town as it does the rest of the country, things began to shift. 
Ambrose, already becoming disenchanted with living up to heroic expectations on the wrestling mat, decides to walk away from it. To the surprise of everyone, Ambrose and his four best friends are soon enlisted in the Army and heading off to Iraq. 
Although they left their hometown as a group of five, not everyone makes it back...

"Making Faces" is a story about loss. 
Loss of friendship. Loss of beauty. Loss of self. 

"Everybody who is somebody becomes nobody the moment they fail."

But with loss also comes discovery.
Ambrose discovers that even as he returns home broken and scarred, there's someone who saw him all along. With that knowledge he has to learn what it's like to love through the fear of being unlovable, and maybe he's not the only one...

"Sometimes we fall in love with a face and not what's behind it."

This Book Nerd Says: 4.5 Stars {& a box of Kleenex}
I laughed...I cried...I smiled as I cried some more... but most importantly I FELT. 
Reading about the 9/11 attacks as they sat in their classroom took me back to that day that will live in infamy. On that day I too sat in my 11th history class, watching history unfold in front of my eyes, in a state that was right next to where it was all happening. Peers around me phoned their parents in shock, while others sat stoically. All of faced with the startling reality that  history wasn't just in the books...that loss wasn't reserved for those who had already lived long lives. 
"Making Faces" is a beautiful story not just of love and loss, but of friendship... lifelong friendship. I loved the reminders that miracles and heroes come in all sorts of packages at any given time, along with the message that even the things we think to be ugly can have something beautiful inside.
And just because this book is filled with so many beautiful lines... I will leave you with one more.

“I will spend the rest of my life trying to make you happy, and when you get tired of looking at me, I promise I’ll sing.” 


Barnes & Noble: 

Happy Reading!!

*My favorite literary character is all time and my best book friend in my head is Anne Shirley of Green Gables/Avonlea fame. So Fern resonated so strongly with me very quickly (I desperately hope you are familiar with my dearest Anne to understand why). PLUS, my very first book boyfriend was Gilbert Blythe... so yeah Fern and I... we clicked! 

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