Published by Createspace on October 20th 2013
Genres: Friendship, New Adult, Romance, War, Young Adult
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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.
This book has compelling characters and an interesting premise: a small town golden boy goes off to war and comes home disfigured, falling for the homely girl who always loved him from afar. However, the plot is predictable and, at times, unbelievable. There is simply no way four friends from the same hometown would be stationed in same Army unit, living in the same barracks, riding in the same Humvees, injured at the same time.
The Beauty and the Beast storyline made me want to read the book but, ironically, it wound up being its biggest flaw. The story avoids examining feelings of guilt and grief over young lives lost and focuses too much attention on the loss of physical beauty. Ambrose, the protagonist, repeatedly refers to himself as, “an ugly SOB,” hides in the dark, and avoids people so they can’t look at him. His four best friends – who he talks into enlisting – get killed in front of him. He walks away with his face messed up but otherwise pretty much unscathed, yet he whines about how unattractive he is for half the book. Really?!
It seemed the author tried to write a poignant tear-jerker but with the choppy storytelling and trite dialog, my prevailing emotion was irritation at the unfulfilled potential.