Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review: Making Faces by 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 a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.
Jennifer says...

As I sit here with tears streaming down my face, I wonder
what to even say to serve this book justice. I wonder if Amy Harmon knew that
her words would pour into my heart and heal my soul. Did she know that the
holes and cracks would be slowly mended with each word that she wrote? Did she
realize that this book came to me at a time when I needed it most? I devoured
it, and want to memorize the words that soothed my fears as to whether there is
life after death.

“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.” –Fern

Fern Taylor is nothing special, or so she believes. She is
so uncertain of herself and knows that she is the opposite of beautiful.

“She’s not pretty. Little, funny Fernie. She’s not pretty.
Poor Fernie.”

If only Fern saw herself the way we do. She is kind, giving,
funny, smart, and has a beautiful soul. She loves Ambrose Young with her whole
heart and wishes more than anything that he would notice her. That he would
reciprocate her feelings.

“To Fern, Ambrose young was more beautiful, a Greek God
among mortals, the stuff of fairy tales and movies screens.”

Ambrose is the opposite of Fern in so many ways. He is
popular, athletic, painfully beautiful, and seems perfect in every way. He is
tired of being the town hero, and after the devastation of 9/11, he decides to
enlist in the army and become a different kind of hero.  Ambrose convinces his friends to enlist in
the army. He returns broken, physically disfigured and mentally broken, and the
saddest part of all-- alone. He is guilt ridden and wonders why he is even

“I used to be afraid of going to hell. But now that I’m
here, hell doesn’t seem so bad.”--Ambrose

Fern spends her days with her cousin Bailey who has a
disease, Dushenne MD, that had taken away his ability to walk, wrestle, and do
all the things he wished he could do.

“He didn’t get stronger, he got weaker, he didn’t get closer
to adulthood, he got closer to the end, so he didn’t look at life the way
everyone else did.”

Bailey had to have been the most beautiful book character
I’ve ever met. He and Fern were not only cousins; they were best friends. What
I wouldn’t give for a best friend like Bailey. He had a way of looking at life
and appreciating every moment as though it was a gift. He lived life to the
fullest and didn’t take anything for granted.

“I want to be a hero.”--Bailey

And he was. To so many. To Fern, Ambrose, his family and
friends, and most of all, to me.

Fern still loves Ambrose, scars and all. She is a fixer, a
protector, always wanting to take care of everyone.

“Maybe everyone represents a piece of the puzzle. We all fit
together to create this experience we call life. None of us can see the part we
play or the way it all turns out. Maybe the miracles that we see are just the
tip of the iceberg. And maybe we just don’t recognize the blessings that come
as a result of terrible things.”--Fern

And that’s what Amy Harmon gives you—a gift. One to savor
and hold on to. She pours her heart and soul into this novel and you live it,
breath it, feel it. You realize how precious life is and how you have to stop
and appreciate EVERY SINGLE MOMENT. “Always be grateful.”

“There isn’t heartache if there hasn’t been joy. I wouldn’t
feel loss if there hadn’t been love….would rather have this pain now then never
have known him.”

“It always amazes me how people are placed in our lives at
exactly the right times.”

Amy Harmon and this novel truly came into my life at exactly
the right time.

“Do you feel that?”

That is my heart swelling. That is the tears running down my
face reminding me to appreciate all the wonder and beauty in life. That is me
being grateful. That is me thanking Amy with all my heart and soul for writing
one of the most beautiful, moving stories I have ever read. I want to thank
her, to somehow show her how much I appreciate her words and their meaning to

This novel was more than five stars. It was all the stars in the sky and like heaven on Earth.

Melanie says...
Victory is in the Battle
This book is about Fern, Ambrose, and Bailey. Fern is a self professed book worm who is hopelessly in love with the most popular, athletic, and gorgeous guy in town, Ambrose. She doesn't think that she is pretty enough for him to ever look her way because of the braces she wore on her teeth, red hair and pasty skin. Bailey, her cousin and best friend, suffers from Dushenne muscular dystrophy and is bound to a wheelchair, says that Fern suffers from UGS - Ugly Girl Syndrome. But that is not how Ambrose saw her.
Ambrose loved the way she looked. But he wondered suddenly if he loved the way she looked because he loved the way she laughed, the way she danced, the way she floated on her back and made philosophical statements about clouds. He knew he loved her selflessness and her humor and her sincerity. And those things made her beautiful to him.
Bailey is like a ray of hope. He sees the positive side of everything. He never sat around and felt sorry for himself because of his disease, even though he knew that he would never have a normal life. He made everyone around him feel better just for knowing him.
When Ambrose was a senior, the World Trade Centers were attacked.  After graduating he announced that he would not be going to Penn State University on the full wrestling scholarship that he was offered, but would be enlisting in the Army  to serve his country. Being the leader of his close nit group of friends, he talks them into enlisting with him. Two months before they were due to return home, tragedy strikes and the entire town will feel the pain. Ambrose returns with terrible scares on half of his face and neck due to the shrapnel that came from an IED. He feels sorry for himself and guilty for surviving and tries to hide himself from everyone.
Bailey and Fern start to show Ambrose that it is OK to live. That things happen for a reason and something that seems as if it were the worst thing in the world, in the end, can turn into the a blessing.
There isn't heartache if there hasn't been joy. I wouldn't feel loss if there hadn't been love. You couldn't take my pain away without removing him from my heart. I would rather have this pain now then never have known him. I just have to keep reminding myself that - Fern
Making Faces is a good read. It didn't make me overly emotional as it did to many other readers. It is about believing that everything happens for a reason and something thought of a bad one day can actually turn into the best thing later down the road. It shows that the weakest of people can actually be the strongest. It teaches to not take things or one another for granted. Tomorrow is not promised, we only have today, so make it count.
If God makes all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?
Does he make the legs that cannot walk and eyes that cannot see?
Does he curl the hair upon my head 'til it rebels in wild defiance?
Does he close the ears of the deaf man to make him more reliant?
Is the way I look coincidence or just a twist of fate?
If he made me this way, is it okay, to blame him for the things I hate?
For the flaws that seem to worsen every time I see a mirror,
For the ugliness I see in me, for the loathing and the fear.
Does he sculpt us for his pleasure, for a reason I  can't see?
If God makes all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?
- Fern Taylor

Amy Harmon knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Amy Harmon has been a motivational speaker, a grade school teacher, a junior high teacher, a home school mom, and a member of the Grammy Award winning Saints Unified Voices Choir, directed by Gladys Knight. She released a Christian Blues CD in 2007 called "What I Know" - also available on Amazon and wherever digital music is sold. She has written five novels, Running Barefoot, Slow Dance in Purgatory, Prom Night in Purgatory, the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue and coming October 20, Making Faces.


  1. What a beautiful write up, ladies. Wow. Thank you so much!

  2. I had already read Making Faces when I read your review. I had left a review on Amazon. But reading your review made me live reading the book all over again. It was one of the best books I have ever read.