January 21, 2014

Title: Making Faces
Author: Amy Harmon   @aharmon_author
Publisher: self-published
Published: October 12, 2013
Genre: Mature YA/ New Adult Contemporary

Synopsis: 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.
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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.

Celeste’s review: 5 heartwrenching loving stars I have no words, but since I’m writing this review I will try my best to get all my feels across to you in a way that does this book a little justice. I hope I can! I hardly slept at all last night because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Making Faces made me reflect on my life in so many ways. It was outstanding. I’m speechless. I’m humbled.

I don’t want to give away any more of the plot than what is written in the synopsis, so I will go through the range of my emotions as I read, and hopefully convince you that this book is an absolute must read for everyone. This story was told in 3rd person POV, and while not my favorite it didn’t make one iota of a difference. Fern Taylor, Ambrose Young, and Bailey Sheen made me an emotional mess, but at the same time I felt so much love. The idea of being a mess and feeling love brings me to Fern and how she could live with pain, because it meant you also loved deeply…she was so wise that I’m almost choking up thinking about it. This story is about how people look, what’s on the inside, and will make you regret every single time you ever took anything for granted.

Fern’s best friend and cousin, Bailey, was just as much of a main character to me as Fern and Ambrose, or Brosey as I think of him. Bailey’s attitude and insight on life was so amazing, so poignant. I have no business EVER feeling sorry for myself ever again. Anyone who knew Bailey was truly blessed, and I count myself as blessed since I read this book. Did I mention that I’m not even religious? I might be after reading this story.

There were a lot of times I cried while I read this book. And when I say a lot, I sure do mean a lot. The very last line was one place, and this line here, spoken by Brosey to Bailey was the one that stuck with me more than anything else (don’t worry, it won’t spoil):

“I’ll add you to my list”

Hold. Me.

I can’t leave this review without commenting on the cover. It’s haunting and perfect. Brosey may look perfect and delicious from this angle, but we know only too well that isn’t how he feels. I love this cover something fierce. It’s beyond perfect.

My friends, Making Faces will make you search a little inside yourself…Ms. Harmon has a way with words that can add value to your own life, because you will realize that everyone is so special. Thank you so much, Ms. Harmon, I feel like this book was a gift to my soul.

Christina’s review: 5 tearfully happy stars!  I won’t go into much detail about the development of the story, just as Celeste didn’t, because this is definitely a story that should be experienced openly… and, honestly, I simply don’t feel like I’d be doing this book any favors if I tried to capture the journey these characters take in my own words.

“And so we endure. We have faith that there is purpose. We hope for things we can’t see. We believe that there are lessons in loss, power in love, and that we can have within us the potential for a beauty so magnificent that our bodies can’t contain it.”
-quote taken from my Kindle edition of Making Faces at 98%

Have you ever read a book and felt it settle somewhere below your rib cage and it filled it so full that it made your chest squeeze too tight ? Like, there was barely enough room for your heart to pump and your breaths to whoosh in and out? Making Faces was exactly that type of novel for me. I felt it in the way it slowly seeped into my bones and built in a constant pressure behind my eyes. This is a novel that will make a person reflect on every single aspect of a their life: all the various versions of love and hope and how it can leave you euphoric or broken, the strength and accountability of friendships, how our spirits will be tested by the hardships we’re confronted with, the unfathomable pain and feeling of being lost or left behind after a loved one’s death, and how every single one of those trials will make a person question their faith or lack thereof. It’s not often that I find a story as profound as this one, that makes me pause and  feel as though I’m not living my life the way I should without it coming across as preachy or judgmental, and this never felt like that. It simply placed all these questions in my head because of how the characters spoke, and their philosophy on the bigger picture, and how they chose to carry out their lives even though some had every reason to want to give up and throw in the towel. It was an inspiring tale, one that left me hopeful and determined to make the best of my time and cherish the days I have with friends and loved ones whether they be infinite or brief.

Ms. Harmon’s honest approach to life and loss and all those moments in-between was a refreshing experience. She gave a voice to these amazing, multifaceted characters that lived and breathed on every page and leapt out of the novel and into my heart.  She took their delicate stories and masterfully interwove them to create a book that was powerfully poignant and wrote it with such a raw, yet wholly finessed prose that I couldn’t help but be swept away from beginning to end. I cried, I laughed, I laughed while I cried, and then I cried a whole lot more. Every page is saturated with emotion, setting, and a complete realness that will steal your breath.

This will probably be one of the shortest reviews I’ll ever write, but it’s unavoidable at this point because I can’t see the screen beyond all the tears that stubbornly refuse to quit falling. Don’t miss out on this book. It was special and unexpected; a journey that I’ll think back on often.

Ms. Harmon, thank you for giving me these characters and this novel. Thank you for challenging me as a person to want and expect more from life. Know that Bailey’s story and beliefs, even if it is fictional, had a illimitable effect on mine.

“Victory is in the Battle.”

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