Wednesday, April 13, 2016

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 little beauty and a little beast in all of us. 

5 out of 5 stars

Do you ever fall totally in love with a book?  I mean, head over heels, crazy for the characters and everything about it?  Well, I just did with this one from Amy Harmon.  Unfortunately though, the problem when that happens is that it is so hard to write a review, to convey just exactly how much love you have for this amazing book find.  Nevertheless here is our attempt at gushing over the awesomeness that is Making Faces.

We are am ashamed to admit how long it has taken us to sit down and read this book.  However, over the last couple of years we have been reading so many things for blog tours and on deadlines we got burned out and almost lost the desire to read what we wanted.  This year, we are back to doing things in our time and reading only what we WANT to read and what a difference it makes!  It is so liberating to go to the Kindle and just choose whatever book catches our attention.  

Last week, I was in a reader group that questioned Ms. Harmon on how she can incorporate religion in her books so bold, yet respectfully.  Her answer was so profound it made me instantly go to my Kindle and search her name.  This one popped up and I am happy to report that it left a huge imprint on my heart.  

Making Faces is told from the third person.  Honestly, this is really hard to pull off.  Most books told from a narrator POV are confusing and I have a hard time keeping things organized in my mind.  That being said, Ms. Harmon executed this flawlessly.  

Amy Harmon weaves multiple storylines and emotions into this beautiful story.  She allows us to not only get to know multiple characters intimately but to also enjoy each of those characters journeys. Fern Taylor, the awkward girl that believes she is ugly.  Fern also loves romance novels and wants to be a writer.  Ambrose Young, Hercules, to his small town that feels the pressure of being a perfect wrestler.  Bailey Sheen, Fern's cousin and best friend.  Bailey has Muscular Dystrophy and despite the fact that he is disabled, still lives life to the fullest.  Rita, the beautiful blonde that has to live with her choices.  Plus many other secondary characters that impact each other.  

One of the important things I took away from this book is that everyone has circumstances dealt to them that they would like to avoid.  Some people think they are not pretty enough, some that they don't have enough money.  We all are guilty of looking at ourselves and wanting to change something about us either physically, emotionally, monetarily.  Things are never quite good enough in our eyes.  Making Faces is an important reminder that rather than change those things about ourselves we should embrace them and use them to be a blessing to another person.

I know that there is an event in the novel we can all relate to and remember.  Reliving September 11 in the eyes of the teenager characters is so real.  Especially since most of us can remember exactly what we were doing on that day.  If we all traced our own choices back, it would be interesting to see what causes us to make those decisions and travel down those paths in our life.  Seeing the choices play out in the book is a reminder to me of exactly how God is truly in control of everything.  

I am a christian and it is refreshing to read a book with real issues be addressed in a way that honors faith but does not cram it down others throats.  To put it in perspective, here is one of my favorite quotes from the book.  "I don't think we get answers to every question. We don't get all the whys. But I think when we look back to the end of our lives, if we do the best we can, and we will see that the things we begged God to take from us, the things we cursed him for, the things that made us turn our backs on him, are the things that were the biggest blessings, the biggest opportunities for growth." 

In our humble eyes, Making Faces is an absolute must read book.  This is the kind of one-click you don't need to overthink.  You will get your money's worth from this story and honestly so much more.  It's heart-breakingly beautiful and incredibly uplifting.  This book is in a league of it's own and I don't doubt it will impact you in ways you never see coming.

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