Author: Alyssa Sheinmel
Published by: Chicken House Books on 7th January 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | Hive | Kindle
When Maisie is struck by lightning, her face is partially destroyed. She's lucky enough to get a face transplant, but how do you live your life when you can't even recognize yourself anymore? She was a runner, a girlfriend, a good student ...a normal girl. Now, after a single freak accident, all that has changed. As Maisie discovers how much her looks did and didn't shape her relationship to the world, she has to redefine her own identity, and figure out what 'lucky' really means.
You see a lot of books, winning a lot of awards. Then you circle back to the well-loved novels on your rainbow shelves, have a little peruse, and wonder why half of them are lacking that pretty ickle metallic sticker on its cover that gives it the glory of being award-winning. Faceless, for me, is one of them. When my mind is still wrapped up about a certain book, weeks after finishing it, then I know it's deserving of one of those fancy stickers. Maybe not on the front cover - I mean, have you seen it? It's gorgeous and so fitting!
I knew from the moment I turned the first page that Faceless would become a contender on my list of favourite contemporaries. I'm a hardcore lover of Fantasy, so if my mind is left reeling and in a clouded daze by anything other than magic and dragons, then it truly means something. And if you know me at all, then you know the book has to be pretty darn impressive. And no, it didn't fail to impress or surprise me. There's a hidden message about acceptance behind this tragic tale about a young girl who is struggling with her identity after an accident that leaves her without a face. In a society where you're easily judged by the way you look, it proves to be a large scale challenge for protagonist, Maisie, to accept her fate and face the world with a new face that isn't hers. And her journey is incredibly moving, truly heartfelt and emotional, raw and honest, Sheinmel doesn't sugar coat anything. I loved being able to connect with Maisie, that too so easily. It was the most vivid portrayal of a person attempting to deal with life after a traumatic experience. Sheinmel nailed it in that department.
Paired with equally beautiful writing, we get well-built characters, great relationships and a dash of romance. Though heartbreaking, as expected, it felt real. Sure, at points it felt as though Maisie seemed too focused on worrying about her love interest, but she rose above it all and learned to come to terms with her situation. And that, my friends, is what we call a strong female protagonist.
This is a story about forbearance, of a young girl learning to love herself once again. It's about picking yourself back up and mounting that horse to canter towards your life-long goal and achieve your ambitions. It's so easy to lose yourself within this book, to have a splash of the real world thrown in your face despite knowing it's fictitious nature. That's what I loved about it and I'm so grateful for the existence of this book. Please read it and thank me later.