Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Book description from goodreads.com

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.

My rating:
5 stars

My review:
Wow.  This is seriously one of the best books I’ve ever read.

I have a plethora of emotions swirling in my head about this book.  This book took me on an emotional journey I will not soon forget.  I finished reading it at 11 pm last night and my eyes still burn from the tears that flowed.  This book is truly incredible.

Making Faces is the story of Fern Taylor, an “unremarkable” girl, and Ambrose Young, the beautiful, Herculean boy she has been in love with since she was young.  It is also about Fern’s cousin Bailey, who is truly one of the best characters ever written.  Bailey has muscular dystrophy, and is reliant on Fern and others for help.

The story begins in high school, where akward Fern is in love with Ambrose from afar.  Her best friend, the beautiful Rita, starts dating Ambrose and asks Fern to write love letters to Ambrose as if they were from Rita.  The letters are interesting and show the depth of Ambrose’s character.  When Ambrose discovers that Fern has been writing the letters, he becomes very angry.  Fern apologizes, but there is a tension between them.  They all end up at a party right before Ambrose is deployed, and he kisses Fern. 

9/11 comes and Ambrose feels the need to go to war, and convinces his 4 best friends to go with him.  (let’s face it, they would not have all been deployed together, but that’s irrelevant).  They are in Iraq, and a roadside bomb goes off.  The friends all die, and Ambrose is badly injured, losing his ear, and some vision in his eye.  He can’t grow his hair because of the metal plate in his head.

He comes home, and hides.  He feels responsible for what has happened to his friends.  He and Fern begin a relationship.

This is truly one of the best books I have ever read.  These characters were beautifully written, and the story seemed so believable.  The way Ambrose’s PTSD was written was real and accurate, and his pain.  And Bailey is an amazing character.  I truly loved him.

My recommendation:
Read it, but have the tissues ready.

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