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.
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!!