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. (From Goodreads.com)

Bubby: So I am frantically rushing around my house getting ready for a family vacation and I get a message from the fabulous Amy Harmon. “Do you want an advanced copy of Making Faces?” she asks. Well, duh! I am not sure if I was more excited about reading Making Faces or going on vacation!

Sissy: It was Fall Break and my son and I decided to have a total reading and treats day.

Bubby: Every day should be reading and treats day!

Sissy: It just so happened that the literary gods were smiling upon me because my inbox contained Amy Harmon’s new book, Making Faces. My son and I grabbed our books and treats and climbed into my king-size bed, yes we did, and read for hours. When I emerged from the cocoon of reading, I was crying. I immediately went to my computer and sent an email to Amy Harmon (may she live long and prosper) and told her basically that she is not an author but a goddess of the written word.

Bubby: I wish that I had been able to immerse myself as you did, Sissy. As it was, I had to grab a page here and a page there between zoo visits and beach trips. I want to read it again so that I can experience the full impact.

Sissy: One of the things that kept going through my mind as I read this story was that it is unbelievable to me how a fantastic author can come up with these characters and situations, do all the research and weave it together seamlessly, all the while using the most perfect language that evokes deep emotion from my soul. When I am thinking these things, it’s like my whole self is validating this author as one of the truly gifted ones. That is honest-to-goodness how I felt.

Bubby: So what you are saying here is that you like Amy Harmon’s books and you think she should write 20 bazillion more? Me too.

Sissy: Yes. Some authors should stop writing immediately, or take a class perhaps, but at the other end of the spectrum are the Olympic Gold Medal authors, so to speak. I am not an author but I have Spidey-Sense when it comes to sniffing out the good ones.

Bubby: A big part of the story here is centered on high school wrestling. That just grabbed me right from the start and made me want to know more. Back in the day, most of my guy friends were wrestlers. My dad and two of my brothers wrestled. So did most of the men in my husband’s family. It is an intense sport and you either love it or hate it. Obviously, Amy Harmon is a fan. The bonds between Ambrose and his teammates are deep and strong – they are family, almost more than if they had been brothers. It’s important to understand the depth of their relationship because for me, that’s what drives the story. They wrestled together, they go to war together, and even when they are no longer together (I SO want to give a spoiler here) their hearts are still knit as one.

Sissy: Bushwah, Bubby! Wrestling is simply a backdrop that showcases Ambrose’s beauty and prowess. It’s a story of redemption, of the emergence of inner beauty over outer. Fern has UGS, Ugly Girl Syndrome, which is something that all women can understand to some extent, but has inner beauty in spades. Everything Fern is on the inside is what attracts Ambrose – she is everything he needs and wants to be.

Bubby: As much as I enjoyed watching Fern and Ambrose’s relationship unfold, we are forgetting my favorite character. The hero of this story is Bailey. Bailey has a rare form of muscular dystrophy and is in a wheelchair. He could be a pitiful character who feels sorry for himself and his fate but he is not. He is hilarious and strong and amazing. If you want a great love story, read this book. If you want a good look at small town life, read this book. Looking for a band-of-brothers type story? It’s in here. But for me, the heart of Making Faces is Bailey. Because of Bailey, Fern is the caring, giving woman that Ambrose loves. Because of Bailey, Ambrose finds redemption. Because of Bailey. All because of Bailey.

Sissy: Bailey’s story is especially poignant. Heck, the whole thing is poignant and moving out the wazoo. Making Faces by Amy Harmon would make an excellent movie (hello, Hollywood? Hello?) It does have some language (not F words) and is sometimes grittingly realistic so maybe not the best choice for our younger readers). I personally loved it and will give it 20,000 bubbles.

Bubby: We only go up to 5 bubbles. Try again.

Sissy: I do what I want. Amy Harmon is my favorite author in the universe. If she needed a kidney I would give her mine.

Bubby: Allrighty then. I may not feel QUITE as strongly as Sissy about Making Faces (and about Amy Harmon – any extra kidneys Sissy has belong to ME!) but I did love the book. 4 3/4 bubbles from me.

© Bubble Bath Books 2013

Click HERE to buy Making Faces by Amy Harmon at Amazon.com