Book: Making Faces
Author: Amy Harmon
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.-Goodreads
Review: 'Making Faces' is a sweet (extremely chaste) romance with strong Christian themes (there is a lot of bible quoting as the main character is a preacher's daughter). Set in a small town in Pennsylvania, Fern (ugly duckling with a heart of gold) has always been in love with Ambrose (good looking, high school wrestling star). After graduation, Ambrose and his friends go off to war and he is the only one who makes it back, severely disfigured. Not surprisingly, Fern is now beautiful (she's shed her braces and glasses and grown out her red hair) and Ambrose forge a friendship.
I felt like the characters were a little too cookie cutter (ugly duckling but smart and sweet? check. pretty but not that smart best friend? check. Ugly duckling in love with high school jock who is actually a sensitive guy? check. Disabled but funny friend? check). I found it odd that few of the main characters had college prospects outside of Ambrose (and that was because of a sports scholarship) and Fern (she couldn't leave her cousin Bailey and weirdly had no conflicting feelings about this). I thought the beginning sections written of the towers going down were well done. Ambrose's reason for wanting his friends to join the military with him were thin (hey, let's all delay life a little and join the army so we can hang out longer!) and how he convinced them SO EASILY to join up wasn't believable. The character who suffered the most was Fern's best friend, Rita. She's dating a guy who no one likes and gets pregnant by him. She tells Fern that she was about to break up with him before she found out she was pregnant. There is no discussion about abortion or adoption-it's just, hey, marry him (even though Fern thinks he's dangerous!?!). Not surprisingly this doesn't end well. The only other female character (Ambrose's friend's girlfriend) we really hear about also gets pregnant as a teen. Literally, 2 of the 3 female teens become pregnant. I realize teen pregnancy is an issue but this takes place in 2001 and Pennsylvania, they should have had some sort of sex ed (birth control is not even mentioned in the book).
Fern, the main character is very sweet. She stays sweet throughout the book, there is little character growth or development. Ambrose comes back from war and suffers PTSD as well as disfigurement. The book focuses more on the disfigurement (beauty/beast, Christian style) than the PTSD but he was a likable character. Their friendship/romance is very sweet (I know I keep using that word, but they aren't that exciting of a couple. They reminded me of 15 year olds instead of 20 year olds). My favorite character was Bailey, Fern's cousin and best friend who suffers from muscular dystrophy (although he even made me mad with the whole Rita situation-at one point he says he's glad she's married to the abusive dude). Anyway, he was a great character and absolutely saved this book for me.
Overall-not my favorite read but I absolutely BALLED at the end so I did enjoy it.