I was in Waterstones one day a few weeks ago, looking at the offers on books, and this book caught my eye. The cover is very simple, and eye-catching with its flesh-toned background so I took a photo of it to remind myself to look it up when I got home.
Later that week, Maximum Pop! Books were running a competition to win a copy of this book, so naturally I entered.
I was more than thrilled to find out that I had won, and the book duly arrived in the post a few days later – thanks, Maximum Pop!
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.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a typical YA coming of age story but laced with the emotional and physical fallout of having to deal with a life-changing accident.
I really enjoyed the structure of the book, which was told in a mixture of flashbacks and present day – the story starts out with the morning of the accident, so we’re not left with pages and pages of scene-setting before getting to the meat of the story. That’s something which I particularly enjoy as I like to be thrown in and work things out as we go along – something which Sheinmel does a good job of, as she unveils little tidbits of information as and when they’re relevant to the story, rather than dumping a load of information on the reader at the beginning.
Maisie is, in the beginning, your typical teenage girl with a boyfriend, a best friend, and parents who fight a lot. After the accident, she suddenly has a whole lot more to deal with, as she struggles to come to terms with what her life now looks like, in the aftermath of a face transplant, and the physical and emotional changes which come with that.
I don’t want to say too much about the story of the book, because I hate spoilers, but I really enjoyed this book – Maisie was realistic and empathetic, with her reactions being, while not always laudable, certainly understandable, and something I could see myself doing as well.
Adolescence is hard enough for your average teenager, without throwing a life-changing accident into the mix as well, and Maisie as a character is really relatable as she tries to deal with the changes rampaging through her life.
I read Faceless over two days in February, and enjoyed it immensely. Maisie wasn’t always likeable, and her actions somewhat incomprehensible at times, but she’s certainly believable.
Probably the best recommendation I can give Faceless is that when I was going to Ireland, it was the only book I packed to give my sister that she hadn’t specifically asked me for – so that’s a sign that it was one I thought she should read, regardless of what she wanted.