Book Review – Making Faces by Amy Harmon

by Maryse on October 22, 2013 · 35 comments

in My Book Reviews

Making Faces
This is one of the most heartfelt, touching and beautifully narrated stories I’ve read all year, and has fast become one of my favorites in this genre. Gentle, yet powerful, the inspiring message learned… no lived by the characters, will be felt down deep, by all. We experience every single bit of it with them. We take each step, have every conversation, reach a hand out after a fall, let each other in, and laugh and cry with abandon… by their side.

And right from the start (I mean it!! 7% in and I was already crying), it had me in it’s clutches as two of the main characters  (still children) sobbed in their mothers’ arms while being rocked together on the porch, coming to terms with a grave realization. Bittersweet in it’s lesson, painful in it’s acceptance and yet it still had me chuckling in it’s sweet comical relief by the name of “Bailey”. I was grinning through glassy eyes, wiping up a few last tears that escaped…

But those would not be the only ones.

“There are times when I think I just can’t take it anymore.” Bailey’s voice cracked, and he stopped talking as suddenly as he had begun.

This is a story of a profound, unselfish friendship that reaches beyond appearances, expectations and insecurities, strengthening each character as it heals them. As they heal each other. An honest connection that develops naturally and envelops each character in a cocoon of unconditional love and security. Despite past grievances, because of present torments and regardless of future heartache. Some of it… is impending, unavoidable and yet, what they have is now, living it and loving life in the process. And loving themselves.

“But it was my pride or my life. I had to choose. So do you. You can have your pride and sit here and make cupcakes and get old and fat and nobody will give a damn after a while. Or you can trade that pride in for a little humility and take your life back.”

I loved this book. LOVED. Heroes, all of ‘em. Each in their own beautiful way, and I was fortunate enough to learn from them, as they learned from each other.

*gulp* That lump in my throat is back… and I was not alone in my emotion.

Maryse’s Book Blog: What I’m reading right now: “Making Faces” by Amy Harmon and… okay wow. I’m 7% in and I’m already crying (for those that have read it, the Bailey and Fern scene on the porch in the rocking chairs)…

Lynetta: Beautiful. Finished in one sitting at 3AM. Enjoy!

Kandace: Did you see someone used beautiful again to describe it. You’re going to love this one!!

Heather: Yes, reading it now also and crying only 25% through and I know there will be a lot more tears to go

Tracie: I loved this book. I cried almost throughout the whole thing.

Kathy: This book is soooooo special!! It surpasses Running Barefoot and A Different Blue, and I didn’t think that was possible.

The Book Trollop: This book hit close to home with me but I devoured it and it is AMAZING!!! have tissues ready you will need them!

Rebecca: I cried throughout the entire book!! It’s such a beautiful story!

Renate: Very special vibe to this book, emotional, sweet, a nice change of pace…

Leslie: Readiing right now and 16% in and loving all the characters! I am afraid of what is to come from all the comments!

Jessica: Read it yesterday and it’s AMAZING. Get some Kleenex ready.

Michelle: Just finished reading this and I am totally choked up and emotional. This book is going to stay with me for a really long time. What a great story! I loved all of the characters….got to check out some more from this author

Jacque: Just when I think I am done being emotional, it happens again! Devoured it! My insides are all squishy & my eyelids are swollen! What a roller coaster! One of my best reads this year!!!

Nancy: Finished it last night! What a great book! I cried several times during this wonderful read. LOVED it!!!!!

Heather: Finished this book in one sitting at 130am. This wa such a touching story and the characters were beautiful people. Everyone who has teen girls should have them read this and the boys as well !!

Maryse’s Book Blog: Me too!! LOVED!! Stayed up until 3am and dreamed of them (and this book) the entire night. What sweet dreams I had!

Kandace: Kite or Balloon?

Maryse’s Book Blog: Kite. ;)  I just wanted to snuggle and cuddle with the whole lot of ‘em. I am SO exhausted right now. Barely coherent… but happy for it.

Kandace: “Giant a-hole in aisle 10″ LOL!! I can’t believe I cried when the spider, ya know!! Sometimes I was crying and I didn’t even know why…. …and then Bailey would make me LOL!!

Maryse’s Book Blog: Oh YES!!!! AND I bawled when they were crying as their mothers rocked them… I loved everything about that book. The epilogue *heart!!!!!!*

Jenny: It’s going to be a long time or another good ass book to help me get over this book. I loved it that much… BS… Beautiful Spider

Maryse’s Book Blog: Oh don’t make me sob… that just brought back another scene… Well it’s 5 stars for me… My heart is all soft and big and mushy and happy after that one.

Heather: I cried from beginning to end. I was even happy crying..

Amy Harmon: Oh My gosh, you people are hilarious. I am laughing my butt off…and crying a little too. Not trying to stalk (It’s Maryse’s fault), but you have all made me so happy I just wanted to say Hi. Glad you loved the book. I loved writing it.

So what’s it about?

Ahhhh nothing I can say here will even come close to the true essence of this story. It spans (short term) their childhood, and their teens but then we get to live (and grow) with them as adults. But I’ll give it a short-form try:

He wondered if she was special. His dad said he had to be nice to kids who were special, because they couldn’t help the way they were.

Fern was an awkward “looking” child and teen growing up. Out of control frizzy red-hair, short, pale, braces, glasses. But none of it bothered her much, because she had an incredible home life. The support of a loving family and her best friend (and cousin), Bailey. Bailey was a bit of an “odd-man out” too, as he was wheelchair-bound (and while he was a pro-active, popular member of the wrestling team, he could never wrestle…), but the two were inseparable and happy to be so.

Things for Fern changed as she became a teen, developing unrequited feelings for one of the hottest (and nicest) guys in school (pretty much, Bailey’s hero), and she becomes best friends with one of the prettiest girls in school. The insecurities start kicking in.

She’s not pretty. The words clanged around in her head like pots and pans being jostled and banged. She’s not pretty. Little, funny Fernie. She’s not pretty. Poor Fernie.

And despite Fern’s burgeoning insecurities, her deep-rooted sense of self and “joie de vivre”… makes her beautiful, no matter what the student body consensus is. Getting to know her will change anyone’s mind.

She was the kind of girl who didn’t care about pulling up to a party in a mini-van rigged for a wheelchair. The kind of girl who had been giddy to just be asked to play a stupid game. The kind of girl who had come back to say goodbye to him, a boy who had treated her like dirt. And he wished, more desperately than he had ever wished for anything before, that he could change it.

But the model-esque school teen-hero (Ambrose) and his entourage join the military and after a tour in the middle east, he comes back a severely scarred man (inside and out). The outgoing, secure boy he was differs greatly from the damaged man he has become.

Ambrose knew what it felt like to be whole, to be perfect, to be Hercules. How cruel to suddenly fall from such heights. Life had given Ambrose another face and Fern wondered if he would ever be able to accept it.

But Fern and Bailey won’t let up, they don’t abandon him, and soon, his world opens up again. THEIR world opens up in an entirely new way.

And I’ll let you experience the rest, with them. ;)

Please read it!!

Kandace: I feel like a book bully because I want to force everyone to read it.

Maryse’s Book Blog: I’ll help ya out in my review. hehehehhe!!!!

Emily: Kandace – I was a total book bully, I sent the book to my mom and said “you must read this now!” Every little part of that book gripped my heart…..I cried beginning to end. This is a story that will always stay with me!

I (we) adamantly recommend this book, in all it’s glory (in the good parts and the sad parts). There are no cheap tricks. No pretenses. Just a pure, raw, uplifting honest love story (that spans all the different kinds of love).

Sweet, bittersweet, enlightening and beautiful. It left my heart with a sense of rich fullness, beaming brightly, even through the sad parts. And I will never forget it. I will never forget them.

5 STARS!!!

P.S. The whole darn book is highlighted. There are SO many quotes I want to put here to help you understand just how potent this story is. Alas… I had to restrain myself. It’s better that way anyway. Better for you to explore it moment by moment, realization by realization for maximum impact. I can’t wait to hear what you think!!


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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Bonnie Reynolds October 22, 2013 at 5:41 PM

I just started reading this and I’m so excited! I’ve heard so many amazing things about this book! It’s gonna be another late night…:)

Lise October 22, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Yay… yippee…*sniffy*

Sooo glad you loved this one. Such a Beautiful Book and review *Hugs*

Maryse October 22, 2013 at 5:45 PM

*hug* I needed that. I swear it, I’m all emotional right now. I need a snuggle.

April October 22, 2013 at 5:55 PM

I’m having a hard time starting a new book. I feel like I’m cheating on Bailey, Ambrose, and Fern. I wish I could unread it and start all over again!

Amy Harmon October 22, 2013 at 5:56 PM

I’m crying, dammit. I just feel so…blessed! Thank you, Maryse.

Tiffaney H October 22, 2013 at 5:56 PM

This was such a great book! I loved it!! I had so many favorite parts.

Maryse October 22, 2013 at 5:59 PM

LOL! We’re all crying, right now. ;) Re-living it together on Facebook. And here…

Emily October 22, 2013 at 6:02 PM

You truly captured the heart of this story and I got teary remembering those parts. Now I can use this review as “Reasons why you MUST read this book” when I share this book with everyone I know. LOL ;) THANK YOU!!

LissaB99 October 22, 2013 at 6:32 PM

I knew I was going to fall in love with the book when Amy Harmon posted this on FB a couple of weeks ago:
“My son, Samuel, was born with a port-wine stain that covered half of his face. It was very dark red and the skin on that side is slightly thicker than the skin on the other side of his face. Luckily for Sam, they can now treat this condition, where even ten-fifteen years ago, that option did not exist. The treatments are very expensive, and so far, Sam has had four laser surgeries, which have improved the overall appearance. He will have to have several more. However, he still gets stares and whispers, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve overheard someone say, (mostly little kids who don’t know better) “What’s wrong with his face?”

In my new book, Making Faces, I introduce you to Ambrose Young, a handsome, young, athlete who volunteers to serve his country and is injured in Iraq. This is a special story, and it’s an important one. It’s funny and romantic and heart-breaking. I hope my romance readers won’t be turned off by Ambrose Young or his injuries, both emotional and physical.

Available on October 20! You can pre-order it on Amazon right now! I would really love to see this book do well, because it isn’t your typical romance.”
I cried during the whole thing. It was so beautiful. 5 stars.

B Palmer October 22, 2013 at 6:47 PM

Loved Running Barefoot – Love Amy Harmon – Can’t wait to read it!!!

Christine October 22, 2013 at 6:50 PM

5 stars!!! From Maryse puts this book next, and I have Convicted and Bold Tricks waiting! I’m always up for these kind of stories, and if you have put it in the same league as Edge of Never… then its a no brainer.

Tanya October 22, 2013 at 7:07 PM

This book had me drowning in emotion. My husband thought I was insane as I read and saturated kleenex after kleenex but when I tried to explain the simplistic beauty of the story I just couldn’t put it into words. You just HAVE to read it. This one goes in the best book ever pile. Loved It!!!

Shirley October 22, 2013 at 7:14 PM

You have such great recommendations, I had to go buy this one. Thanks!

Shanda October 22, 2013 at 7:36 PM

With all the talk I one clicked and I am 10% in….

Joanna October 22, 2013 at 11:21 PM

I just finished reading this, at 12:15am. I started at 9pm. I could not put this book down. So beautifully written, with characters that gripped my heart. The tears won’t stop and I need to get some sleep! By far THE best book of 2013. I can’t wait to read more from Amy Harmon.

Jean October 23, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Okay. I didn’t read your review yet, just scrolled down to see your rating. I already had this as my next read, but now I am really looking forward to it – thanks Maryse!

Cathy October 23, 2013 at 9:49 AM

I just finished this. There are no appropriate words. Just — MAGNIFICENT!!!

Kristina October 23, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Wow, I just one clicked it. After that review and all these comments, I can’t wait to read it!

Maryse October 23, 2013 at 12:01 PM

I agree with ALL of you guys!!! :D

K October 23, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Her other book A Different Blue is exceptional.

Dawn October 24, 2013 at 12:30 AM

Just finished and still wiping tears off of my face. Such a sweet story!!

Danette October 24, 2013 at 1:45 PM

I really hesitated to read this book. The synopsis had me worried. I was afraid it would just be too sad to read right now. But after all of your recommendations I’m so glad I reconsidered.

It’s hard to even put into words the beauty within this story. I wept. I actually wept. I wept for the beauty of all of their stories. I wept for the immense sweetness. I cried tears of joy and sobbed tears of sadness.
Yes, there was sadness. But it was gloriously overshadowed by joy, love and hope.

So, so, so beautiful. Absolutely one of the best books I’ve read in many, many years.

Sally October 24, 2013 at 3:37 PM

I read and loved this one, and have just finished ‘Running Barefoot’, possibly even better, definitely another 5* read. Put it at the top of your TBR list, it was just so much <3

Jean October 25, 2013 at 10:48 AM

All I can say is WOW and I am only at 45% of the book. Still haven’t read your review until I’m done, but this book and author are amazing. The tears and my heart…..ugh…..haven’t had these FEELINGS from a book in a while! Everyone needs to read this book!!

Kim October 26, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Just finished making faces. It was so amazing and special and very heart warming. I cant thank you enough for recommending it. One of my favorites this year. Love this author. I can’t wait to read more of her work!!! 5 stars !!!!

Jean October 28, 2013 at 8:23 AM

Thank you so much for this recommendation! Finished over the weekend and had to throw my contact lenses out from crying so much….but what an amazing story! I will be recommending this one to everyone I know!

Georgia October 29, 2013 at 11:47 PM

Maryse…Thank you for your great reviews!!! I can always count on ANY book you rate 5 stars to rock my world! I just finished ” Making Faces” and am still reeling (through tears…no doubt). Simply the sweetest and best book ever.

Heidi October 30, 2013 at 8:25 PM

What a beautiful story!!! Read this after reading your review and it did not disappoint! I laughed, cried and cried some more…EXCELLENT!!! Thanks Maryse!! I can’t keep up with y’all. Being older. Ha ha my eyes shut off at 10 and after one day y’all are on to the next book! Think imoingbto start Night Owl now per your recommendation. Here goes…….!!!

Heidi October 30, 2013 at 8:28 PM

Can’t type… “Imoingbto”? See what I mean! It must be getting close to 10, meant to type “I’m going to…”

Erin M November 5, 2013 at 10:15 PM

I am late to the party on this one….but Wow! fabulous book. I gotta say tho I haven’t cried so much with a book in a long time….but enjoyed every minute of it.

Amber November 19, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Best book I have read in forever. I can’t even describe how much I loved this story. I can’t believe it took me so long to find this book. I sobbed through the last part of it, but it was still wonderful.

Lindsay December 5, 2013 at 7:45 AM

Is this a military romance? As a military member I avoid those no matter what, because I read to escape the stress of my hectic life…I read a Different Blue, and I absolutely loved it. I’m int the mood for a tear jerker and I hear this might do it, but I’m torn.

Jean December 31, 2013 at 9:51 AM

I would not consider this a military romance at all! It is a tear jerker, but also just a wonderful story that I will never forget!!!

Bianca January 29, 2014 at 3:13 PM

You reviewed this perfectly. Summed up all my feelings and thoughts so clearly. I absolutely loved this book!

Diana Fatouros March 18, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Maryse, I am so grateful you had Making Faces as one of your top reads for 2013. I was looking for new books to read and took some inspiration from that list. Making Faces has got to be one of the most influential reads for me ever and I was truly moved by it. I can’t get it out of my mind and will definitely have to read it again but much more slowly to savour everything more deeply.

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