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Book Review – Making Faces by Amy Harmon

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This is not my first time at the Amy Harmon rodeo. I have read previous books of hers and A Different Blue was one of my favourite reads last year. I was looking for something with a bit of depth for my next read and when I saw Making Faces come up I thought it sounded perfect! So I immediately one-clicked it. The reviews for this book are some of the best I have ever read. People. Loved. This. Book.

I didn’t have too many expectations going into this book, I was expecting to love it, because when one of your favourites writes a new book you usually do, but I had no preconceived ideas of what would happen with these characters. I went in with an open mind. Amy Harmon has this beautiful way of making all of her characters and their worlds come alive. Every time I have ever picked up one of her books I have felt fully comfortable within the pages of her story. I usually lose myself in it straight away and every single time I’m left with a huge book hangover.

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.

Fern, the protagonist of this story, was such a beautiful character. She had a quiet strength and grace about her that I couldn’t help but admire. She’s the exact type of person you would want around if you ever needed to be talked down from a ledge. And that’s what she did for Ambrose. Coxed him right off the ledge and back into the world, bit by bit. She helped him heal when he was scarred by loss right down to his soul.

“No, Fern. I’m not ashamed to be seen with you, I’m ashamed to be seen”

And Bailey, oh Bailey. Bailey was such a gorgeous character! He really brought the whole book alive for me. I don’t think I have read about such a likable hero in a book. He reminds us how we should live every day. He was platinum.

“He said Bailey had taught him to love and to put things in perspective, to live for the present, to say I love you often and to mean it. And to be grateful for every day.”

“The happiness of knowing Bailey, of loving him is part of the pain now. You can’t have one without the other.”

This was a really emotional read. There are so many feelings happing while you read it. I’m pretty sure I spent the last 25% of this book in tears. For a while there I cried so much I was worried about dehydration. I’m not kidding – it was the ugly cry. But it was beautifully written and the emotion is what makes this story unforgettable. 

If God made all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?
Does he make the legs that cannot walk and eyes that cannot see?
Does he curl the hair upon my head ’til it rebels in wild defiance?
Does he close the ears of a deaf man to make him more reliant?

Is the way I look a coincidence or just a twist of fate?
If he made me this way, is it okay, to blame him for the things I hate?
For the flaws that seem to worsen every time I see a mirror,
For the ugliness I see in me, for the loathing and the fear.

Does he sculpt us for his pleasure, for a reason I can’t see?
If God makes all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?