Thursday, March 16, 2017

*ARC* Making Faces - Review

Making Faces

By: Amy Harmon

Published: February 21, 2017 by Spencer Hill Press

405 pages


(Goodreads / Amazon)

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 little beauty and a little beast in all of us.
This is my third Amy Harmon book. Her style of writing is one I have found to be easy to get swept up in and her stories captivate me. From fantasy to contemporary romance, I'm definitely a fan of hers!

I think one of the books themes that will be more relatable to a lot of females, is the fact that our MC is a girl who grows up with red curly hair, lots of freckles, braces for nearly all of high school, short and petite to the point of looking like a little girl and mostly unnoticed by most...especially guys. Despite her physical beauty not being one that necessarily draws the masses, this girl has a heart of gold! She's caring and genuine and honest. She's funny and witty and smart. She's the kind of girl that I definitely would've valued as a friend both in high school and as an adult. Her best friend is her cousin who has a disease that after the age of 14 took his ability to walk and to stand on his own. From then on he is wheelchair bound and he eventually looses most of the use of his arms as well and has to depend on others to take care of him. Knowing he will succumb in death at some point sooner rather than later because of this disease, his character is not one of bitterness, but rather of seizing every moment and living with joy as much as he can. For all that Fern and Bailey go through together, they are really quite incredible characters.

Ambrose is the male MC, all 6 ft 3 inches of muscle of him. He is known as being extremely beautiful, incredibly gifted in wrestling and in singing. Everyone loves him, including Fern. His interest in Fern though is nearly nonexistent. Unfortunately after years of trying to meet everyone's expectations for him, he's exhausted and lonely. The story briefly touches on the events of 9/11 in the US, and since the story takes place in Pennsylvania where one of the three planes crashed, Ambrose finds himself strongly drawn to wanting to serve his country after high school. He, along with his four best friends, join the Army and are immediately sent to Iraq after basic training.

The story goes back and forth between present time and flashbacks to various ages covering somewhere around age 11/12 through their early 20's. It also goes back and forth between main characters, Fern and Ambrose and Bailey who is a strong side character.

So far in the three books I've read, Harmon always finds a way to weave in Biblical stories or quotes from the Bible. These books are not at all considered Christian Fiction given their content and language, but I have enjoyed the addition of Bible related things to her books. For this one, Fern's parents are described as being like Zacharias and Elizabeth, who in their old age gave birth to John, who would later be called John the Baptist. Fern's mom was 45 when she had her and her Dad was in his 50's. Fern's father is a preacher and Fern herself has faith in God and this is mentioned throughout the book, both in her prayers and also in thoughts and speech.

Though pretty clean in mature content, the language to me was heavier than I would give a for light rating, so I went with a medium rating for this one. No "f" bombs, so I was pleased with that. But there's definitely a good bit of language.

The thought/saying "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and other similar thoughts come to mind regarding these characters. There is more to beauty than physical attributes. There is more to being beautiful than what the world typically sees as outward beauty. Each of the three main characters have a certain beauty to them that is appealing and will draw you to them.

Another well done story from Amy Harmon! Fans of contemporary romance, fans of stories about war and the sacrifice and pain that often comes with it, fans of stories about hope and love - if you find yourself in any of those categories then this book is for you!

Top 5 Favorite Quotes (and a bonus):
"Thank you for making even ugly things beautiful."

"But that's the cool thing about friendship. It's not about being perfect, or even being deserving."

"Good friends are very hard to find. They take care of each other and watch out for each other, and sometimes, they even die for their friends, the way Jesus died for all of us."

"I guess it means we don't understand everything, and we're not going to. Maybe the whys aren't answered here. Not because there aren't answers, but because we wouldn't understand the answers if we had them."

"Scripture comforts me, and romance novels give me hope."

"I don't think we get answers to every question. We don't get to know all the whys. But I think we will look back at the end of our lives, if we do the best we can, and we will see that the things that we begged God to take from us, the things we cursed him for, the things that made us turn our backs on him or any belief in him, are the things that were the biggest blessings, the biggest opportunities for growth."

Language Rating: 2 (medium)
Mature Content Rating: 1 (light)
Final Rating: 4.5 stars


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