Making faces – book review

“I wrote your name across my heart,
So we could be together
So I could hold you close to me
And keep you there forever.”

Amy Harmon

Synopsis

Fern Taylor loved Ambrose Young since they were children. But, while Ambrose is beautiful, tall and muscular and looks like the models on the covers of magazines, Fern is exactly the opposite. She is plain, has red hair, braces, glasses and freckles. Ambrose would never love a girl like her, right?

But she will love Ambrose even when the roles are reversed. Thus, when Ambrose returns from war completely disfigured, while Fern turned from the ugly duckling into a swan, her love is still the same because:

“Love is not love
Which alters when alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
Oh, no, it is an ever-fixèd mark,
that looks on tempests and is never shaken.”

William Shakespeare

Making Faces by Amy Harmon – book review

This is one of the most difficult book reviews I have to write because I can’t find the right words to express how much this novel impressed me or how many emotions evoked within my soul. To be honest, at first I wanted to avoid reading this book because I knew that it is an emotional, heartbreaking story but temptation prevailed. So I began reading it… I read, and sobbed, and read, and sobbed, and the cycle continued until I finished reading, but I continued sobbing. Thus, I feel compelled to warn you: prepare tissues because Making Faces is an emotional roller-coaster of heartbreaking and gut-wrenching events.

Making Faces is so much more than a love story. It is a coming-of-age novel which brings into discusion matters such as loss, death, grief, guilt, self-acceptance, friendship, true beauty, love and war. The story has spiritual undertones and delivers depth and wisdom. I loved all the characters, even the secondary ones. The writing style is poignant, symbolic, engaging and vivid.

The characters

The main characters, Fern, Ambrose and Bailey, are the most unique and complex heroes I read about. Bailey was my favourite and I craved for him to have a happy ending, even though I knew it was impossible because of his illness. I appreciated his strength and courage and loved his sense of humor. He gave me life lessons, but he also broke my heart.

“How do you stand it, Bailey? Looking death in the face for so long?”
Bailey shrugged and glanced at him curiously. “You act like death is the worst thing.”
“Isn’t it?” Ambrose could think of nothing worse than losing his friends.
“I don’t think so. Death is easy. Living is the hard part.”

Bailey & Ambrose

Fern was kind, devoted, innocent, vulnerable and genuine. Her friendship with Bailey moved me to tears, her devotion to Ambrose inspired me, and her struggles and inner battles shattered me. Her relationship with Ambrose isn’t angsty or steamy, their connection being more meaningful than that.

Ambrose is flawed, but still worthy. At the beginning of the book he may seem a little shallow, but you will definitely come to love him as you get to know him better. He is strong, protective, humble and a great friend. His guilt and grief will devastate you, but at the same time, he will teach you about forgiveness, camaraderie and self-acceptance.

The story will deliver through each character important life lessons.