May 31, 2015

Book Review: Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Making Faces
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Get a copy here!

Let me begin this review by saying that…
Amy Harmon is exactly the kind of author that I’ve been searching my whole life.
She is, really. I fell in love with Ms. Harmon’s writing for the first time through A Different Blue. That book is perfection and I know everything she writes will be too. That’s why I didn’t even hesitate to pick up another book from her this time.
Making Faces is the kind of book that will make you think about a lot of thing once you finish it. It is a story about seeing behind the cover, realizing one’s worth is not the one valued by the appearance, acceptance of both bitter and good luck, and especially finding beauty among the ugly.

No one said Fern Taylor was ugly but she was sure she wasn’t pretty either. Fern was not the girl who easily got noticed at school by her look; most people easily overlooked her on the street; and no boys really dreamed about her. And she was fine with all that. She got lovely parents who called her ‘miracle child’, a cousin who’s been her bff ever since they were not even born yet, books and a little gift in writing department. But was it enough for her?
‘If dark chocolate could sing it would sound like Ambrose Young’

(Fern; Chapter I, Making Faces)
No, it wasn’t. After all, Fern was a girl and sooner or later she’d notice a boy around her. She did actually. Saw him for the first time ten years ago, later realized that was when she’d fallen for him. For the first time in her life, Fern wished to be noticed for once by a boy.
Ambrose Young was the boy you call ‘beautiful meet gorgeous wrapped up in perfection’. Despite having incomplete family ―thanks to her model-obsessed mother― he grew up smoothly in comfort of his step-father who loved him as much as his own. Ambrose was loved everywhere he goes. At school boys looked up to him and girls wanted to hook up with him. Ambrose was notable wrestle both at school and in their small town. He started at young age and slowly built up his little career which later led him to a chance of full-ride scholarship to Penn State. People would say Ambrose had perfect look and perfect future so logically he would have no worries left, right?
‘Everybody who is somebody becomes nobody the moment they fail’

(Ambrose; Chapter III, Making Faces)
Except he made a decision to leave the town which led him to an unending regret all his life the day he realized there was actually a hidden diamond just near him.
When God bent ones’ plan, people usually left confuse, worry, and scared about how to start over and where to go from. Ambrose shouldered regret as big as Fuji Mountain when he himself had to pick up the pieces of his remaining life back in his hometown. He found himself directionless, worry about what people reaction about his new look, and scared to face the blame he was sure was addressed to him for the town’s losses. And then he met Fern again. When everything had changed, Fern was the one who remained the same. Fern remained simple, lovely, insecure but sneaky, and above all, she remained beautiful inside out. Ambrose had not courage to continue where they left off last time. No, not in the state he was in now. But of course Fern had a mind of her own and she acted her way. Fern made him believe a lot of thing. That regret was just a little piece of evil that would drag one down to the dark corner if we let it be. That everything had a reason to happen. That miracle did exist if you believed so.
“Maybe everyone represents a piece of the puzzle. 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 miracles that we see are just the tip of iceberg. And maybe we just don’t recognize the blessings that come as a result of terrible things.” 

(Fern; Chapter XIX, Making Faces)
And most important, both Fern and Ambrose had learned together that the most beautiful thing could be hidden behind the ugly.
“You are still beautiful.”

“I think that statement is more a reflection of your beauty than mine.” 

(Chapter XXII, Making Faces)
Oh my God, Making Faces made me feel a thousand kind of feeling all at once.
I smiled, I laughed, I grinned every 10 seconds, I cried and wept every 20 others. Well, not necessary in that order but you know what I mean. It was just so many messages the author delivered at once through the words on the book and I loved it! I loved to read something that could entertain and educate me at the same time. I loved to read a book that I could wave in front of people and said, “Here, folks, is the simplest way to learn about life”. Making Faces is that kind of book. Well, every book of Amy Harmon is that kind of book! This is only my second book of her but I can already say that she writes by heart and that means you get meaningful books in your hand.
Each character she creates has strong characteristics. Fern, Ambrose, and Bailey. Three of them play major roles on the book. From Fern, we learn that sometimes the most beautiful thing is the one that hiding a lot. From Ambrose, we get to learn that life sometimes brings the worst to our plate but it’s all up to us whether to eat it up or throw it away. From Bailey, oh my, Bailey might be a side character but he made me cry as much as Ambrose did. Bailey teaches us that what’s in the outside doesn’t always mirror what’s in the inside. He also gives away one wise saying regarding people’s bad habit of being too self-centered whenever things go too wrong in their life.
“Because terrible things happen to everyone, Brosey. We’re all just so caught up in our own crap that we don’t see the shit everyone else is wading through.”

(Bailey; Chapter XXIII, Making Faces)
Last, let me leave this beautiful line from Fern’s father that I love so much…
‘… sometimes a beautiful face is false advertising too, and too many of us don’t take the time to look beneath the lid’

(Fern’s dad; Chapter XII, Making Faces)
Trust me, you will want to read this book :)

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.


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