Friday, January 10, 2014
Book Review: Making Faces by Amy Harmon
Author: Amy Harmon
Enjoyment Rating: ****
This book would be rated: PG or PG-13 for mild language and violence
Fern is a high school senior with glasses, braces and bad hair who spends her time hanging out with a kid in a wheelchair. Ambrose tall and hot, the captain of the wrestling team who also sings like an angel. Of course, Fern is in love with Ambrose, and of course, he barely acknowledges her existence. When he finally does recognize her, it's not in a good way. And then he convinces his best friends to join the military with him, and when he's the only one who returns to their small town alive (barely-- and with a badly scarred face), he knows what it's like to be a pariah. But Fern is still there, and reaches out to him.
If I had checked out the Goodreads page for Making Faces before reading the book, I think I would have been highly skeptical of the story (the first ten reviews are obviously from lovestruck teenagers who are part of the Ambrose fan club). Heck, if I'd seen the book jacket, I think I would have been skeptical. But the book doesn't disappoint. The narrative is complicated, switching back from past to present and between characters. Harmon's writing is clear and lyrical. Her characters are interesting (not just Fern and Ambrose, but also her wheelchair-bound cousin, Bailey, whose side-story is fascinating), and she does a great job capturing life in a small town. While I'm sure Ambrose is a hottie and if there's a movie, it will be a success, I also think that the book is much more than just a hot guy and a nerdy girl getting together.