Making Faces by Amy Harmon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
More than 5 Stars!
Wow... just wow! This is one of those special books I wish I could give extra stars to- 5 stars, it just doesn’t seem adequate. When I read a story like this, it’s hard to put it into words how I feel. This book blew me away. One of the very best books I’ve read this year!
Fern Taylor and Ambrose Young...
Fern is that awkward girl. Red hair, freckles, glasses, braces. She loves to read, takes care of her best friend and cousin, Bailey, and remains closed off to most. Those who know her, those who she opens up to, know that she is one of the most beautiful people on the inside.
Fern has been in love with Ambrose Young since they were children. Ambrose is the opposite of Fern. Even from a young age, he is beautiful, he is popular, he is kind. Everything about Ambrose is perfect to Fern, but like most people, he never really notices Fern.
Could you belong to someone who didn’t want you? Fern decided it was possible because her heart was his, and whether or not he wanted it didn’t seem to make much difference.
Fern and Ambrose connect in highschool in an unexpected way. Through letters. Ambrose doesn’t know that Fern is replying to his letters. He opens up to her more than he ever has with anyone.
‘Nobody or Nowhere?’
Fern: ‘I’d rather be nobody at home than somebody somewhere else.’
Ambrose:‘I’d rather be nowhere. Being nobody when your expected to be somebody gets old.’
Fern: ‘How would you know? Have you been nobody?’
Ambrose: ‘Everybody who is somebody becomes a nobody the moment they fail.’
When Ambrose finds out it’s Fern, his feelings are conflicted. Although Ambrose appears to have it all, most popular guy in the school, star wrestler with a full scholarship to college, he feels all of that weighing on him much too heavily. After 9/11, Ambrose has felt he needed to do something. He wants to enlist. He talks to his four best friends, and they decide to go along with him. Five boys, from the same small town leaving for the Army. Fern stays in town after graduation. She works at the same store, continues reading and writing and hanging out with Bailey, but she always thinks of Ambrose.
Now that I’ve mentioned Bailey, let me talk about this very special character.
As much as I loved Fern and Ambrose, Bailey was the very best part of this story. Bailey was so strong, so resolved to live his life to the very fullest. He was full of laughter, love and beauty. He was sweet, funny, and was exactly the person Fern needed in her life. I really agree with Fern’s mother and aunt. Fern and Bailey were brought into this world around the same time for each other.
I loved Bailey’s interactions with Fern:
“Do you think there’s any way someone like Ambrose could fall in love with someone like me?”
“Only if he’s lucky.”
He also had a special relationship with Ambrose.
“Fern doesn’t have a clue how pretty she is. That makes her priceless. Make sure you snatch her up before she clues into her good looks, Brosey.”
Ambrose comes back from the war a changed man. He is different on the inside and the out. He has went through things, seen things he just can’t get past.
As Fern comes into her self, she wants to help Ambrose come back to himself. Fern is resilient. She has such strength. She is lovely, has a way with words and has this passion to help those she cares for. Ambrose is drowning in guilt and sorrow. He is not the same man he once was. Fern (and even Bailey at times) bring him back.
We all fit together to create this experience we call life. None of us can see the part we play or the way it all turns out. Maybe the miracles we see are just the tip of the iceburg. And maybe we just don’t recognize the blessings that come as a result of terrible things.
‘Victory is in the battle.’
I can’t tell you how many times I cried while reading this...
“I’ll add you to my list.”
(view spoiler)[“It wouldn’t hurt so badly if I didn’t love him so much. That’s the irony of it.” “There isn’t heartache if there hasn’t been joy. I wouldn’t feel loss if there hadn't been love.” (hide spoiler)]
But I also laughed, smiled and was just overwhelmed by the love I had for this story and these characters. One of my favorite parts towards the end...
‘When you get tired of looking at me, I promise I’ll sing.’
Making Faces was heartbreaking and heartwarming. Although there was sadness and loss, there was also much love, laughter and beauty. After reading A Different Blue by Amy Harmon, I knew when this came out I had to read it right away. What I didn’t know was how deeply it would effect me. This book moved me. Inspired me. Made me think, made me hope, made me feel. The writing was phenomenal, the story- one of a kind. Amazing, beautiful, the best kind of book. A story I will never forget. And it had the best message- true beauty, the kind that lasts comes from the inside of a person. I’ll leave you with this thought- Don't wait... if you haven't read this one yet, drop everything and pick it up!!!
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