Sunday, January 5, 2014

*REVIEW* "Making Faces" by Amy Harmon

Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She'd been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have...until he wasn't beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl's love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior's love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.


Let's start off here.. 

Where were you during the attack on 9/11? 

I'm sure almost everyone of us can remember that morning… where we were, who we were with, what we first thought. For me, I was sitting in my AP art class, in my senior year of high school. Mrs. A was my favorite teacher, and she was one of the few in the whole school that let us students listen to the radio, once we first got wind of what was going on. We heard it all over broadcast. I should also mention that I lived in New York at the time, and at least 4 of my friends in the class ran straight to the pay phones to check on their parents, who worked in and around the twin towers. No one could get through. It was terrifying, it was life altering, it was one of the saddest days that anyone of my generation had seen yet. So if you were a 1984 baby like me, this book is going to hit you hard. Harder than hard, because all of these Characters are seniors in high school during the attack. All of these Characters experience the heartbreak of the attack, and the continual heartbreak thereafter. All of these Characters had the same thoughts that went through our heads, sitting in class, trying to make sense of what was happening around us. And chances are you had friends who signed up for the military because of 9/11. Chances are you had older friends who were currently in the military, and were going to be deployed as soon as possible. Chances are you had family in the military.
Chances are, you could lose someone you loved… 
"In the days and weeks following the attacks on 9/11, life returned to normal, but it all felt wrong, like a favorite shirt worn inside out -- still your shirt, still recognizable, but rubbing in all the wrong places, the seams revealed, the tags hanging out, the colors dulled, the words backwards. But unlike the shirt, the sense of wrong couldn't be righted. It was permanent, the new normal."
I went into this book not knowing really what to expect. Honestly, I all but skimmed the synopsis. An author friend of mine (thank you, K Larsen) suggested that I read this book, and I trust her opinion, so I downloaded it immediately. 

It started off sweet, cute even, and I remember updating my Facebook status about loving this book already because of a spider. That was 4% in. At 5%, everything. got. real. 

This is a story of love, loss, family, brotherhood, pain, suffering, and resolve. A story about heroism (be it a friend, with a life he never had control of, or a soldier). About overcoming the hand that you a dealt, and living your life with it. Is it a love story? Sure. It is. Is it a broken boy and a shy girl? Yup, that too. A group of amazing friends? Yes. Strong faith and family bonds? Absolutely.
But it is so much more than that.
"I promised myself that if you came home I wouldn't be afraid to tell you how I felt. But I'm still afraid. Because I can't make you love me back."
You will laugh, cry, cry a little more, but every time you aren't laughing or crying, you will have this teeny little smirk on your face at the sweetness of this entire story. I fell in love with these characters (Bailey especially) and even through the sadness of this story, I managed not to full out bawl my eyes out until the very end. It was like the story as a whole, finally hit, and my heart just couldn't handle it anymore. There are so many lessons to be learned from this book. No one is promised tomorrow. We can't control things beyond our control, so why not accept them. Never waste a minute when you love someone. Life is just too damn short.
"We were robbed. But I've decided to smile, like Bailey did, and steal something from the thief."
Favorite Quote:
"Kites or Balloons?"



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