Amy Harmon is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author who has written fourteen novels, including the likes of Making Faces, What The Wind Knows, The Bird and The Sword, The Smallest Part, and Running Barefoot.
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Making Faces is an international bestseller that is often boxed into the Teen and Young Adult genre, but it is much more than that. Here is the blurb that summarizes the book-
“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.”
Making Faces By Amy Harmon Review
Making Faces by Amy Harmon is a heartbreaking journey through the events of 9/11. The story introduces us to Fern, a quiet, shy teenage girl that devours romance novels like there’s no tomorrow and who is in love with the protagonist of the book- Ambrose.
This story starts from high-school, where both Fern and Ambrose study together. Ambrose is everyone’s favorite. The captain of the wrestling team and the most handsome guy in all of his high school, he doesn’t exactly notice Fern much, who is a lowly ugly duckling in the school. They hardly ever interact with each other throughout their high school careers.
Fern, always had a thing for Ambrose, and as a writer at heart, she starts writing love letters to Ambrose, expect for the fact that she was doing it for her friend Rita. When this whole thing was uncovered, the tiny ray of hopes in Fern’s heart of capturing Ambrose’s heart where dashed out completely.
But things changed when Ambrose enlists into the army after graduation, albeit having several full-ride offers from various universities.
His enlisting into the army is caused by the events of 9/11, which broke the entire nation and caused incredible amounts of damage. Ambrose leaves for the army with four of his best friends but he is the only one that returns.
The Relational Elements
Amy Harmon has managed to beautifully embrace the relationship between Ambrose and his friends before and during war, which enables readers to understand his personality and gain an insight into his emotional feelings or pain, especially in the post war scenario.
Even though he’s back in his physical form, mentally Ambrose is still on the battlefield. Ridden with guilt, shame, and wishing for death, Ambrose hides from the world.
Meanwhile, Fern had lost her glasses and braces and learned to manage herself really well. But one thing that never changed was her faithfulness and unfailing love for Ambrose.
After he comes back from the army, Fern notices that Ambrose isn’t the same as he used to be and she takes it upon herself to get close to him and to help ease his pain. The story unfolds with them getting closer and the ending of the book shows us that no matter how bad things are, there is always a silver lining. That no person is a lost cause and that everyone deserves a second chance.
The Character Development of Making Faces
Although a romantic novel, this book has many more things to offer. This is not entirely the story of Fern and Ambrose but also includes the beautiful life of Bailey, who was Fern’s best friend.
Bailey was suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is a disease that breaks down your muscles and weakens your body so that it cannot function normally. Bailey was wheelchair bound, for most part in this book but he has been shown as a person who had not yet lost his spirit and love for life.
He is actually one of the most engaging, inspiring and very realistic characters from the novel. The story is obviously about Fern and Ambrose but the theme of this novel also enables you to look beyond appearances and observe things what are beneath.
Wheelchair bound, Bailey is rightly considered to be the world’s greatest wrestler from the inside and in similar way, Fern had a heart that easily surpassed her beauty. Ambrose, was from within capable of goodness. This book many times tries to say that, “it is what is inside that matters and not outside,” and it is the inside that counts no matter what you are or how beautiful you look from the outside.
This book is not a light read. The book encapsulates you and various portions from it will make you cry. A very beautifully and intricately written piece of work by Amy Harmon with a very powerful message about how you should see beauty and give people second chance to make a difference. It is surprising as well as inspiring but especially satisfying read for those who love to read romantic novels.
Making Faces By Amy Harmon Quotes
1. “It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that you aren’t ever going to be loved the way you want to be loved.”
2. “I used to be afraid of going to hell. But now that I’m here, hell doesn’t seem so bad.”
3. “Sometimes you can’t take your life back. Sometimes it’s dead and buried and you can only make a new life.”
4. “How did you know I needed you?”
“Because I needed you too.”
5. “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 that we see are just the tip of the iceberg. And maybe we just don’t recognize the blessings that come as a result of terrible things.”
6. “If God makes all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?
Is the way I look 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?”
7. She struggled with the words for two days. Everything from “Hi. Glad you’re back!’ to “I couldn’t care less if your face isn’t perfect, I still want to have your babies.” Neither seemed quite right.
8. “The Ancient Greeks believed that after death, all souls, whether good or bad, would descend to the Underworld, the kingdom of Hades, deep in the Earth, and dwell there for eternity,”
Making Faces By Amy Harmon PDF
Here are some of the great things other reviewers have been saying about this book.
“Everyone should read this book. This is the kind of unforgettable story that sinks into your heart and doesn’t let go. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”
— Aestas Book Blog
“Absolutely spellbinding, heartbreaking, emotional and powerful. Mere words don’t do justice to the experience I was afforded in Making Faces.”
— Totally Booked Blog
“Making Faces reminds us of morals that are all too often forgotten or lost in modern life. The underlying story of heroism and courage had me rooting for the unconventional hero and inevitably crushed me. Beauty may be skin deep, but this story is deep on such a level that it will stay with you for a long, long time.”
— A Love Affair With Books
If this book is a little too heavy for you, you can check out Virginia Hodgson’s romance books or you could see our The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane Review here.
Of course, you could always check out “The Best Thing Review by Mariana Zapata” here.