Welcome to our stop on the Faceless tour for Alyssa B. Sheinmel. This tour is hosted by Rockstar Book Tours.
Author: Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Reading Level: Young Adult
Released: September 29 2015
Review Source: Scholastic Press
When Maisie gets into a terrible accident, 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 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.
From Alyssa Sheinmel, the acclaimed author of Second Star, this is a lyrical and gripping novel that will challenge readers to think about how we create and define ourselves.
Maisie has everything going for her. A boyfriend who's taking her to prom, running which she absolutely loves. Sure, her parents fight, but one tiny little hiccup in a life that's pretty good is fine. Until one morning while on a run Maisie gets into an accident. This accident leads to half of her face being damaged, and therefore taken off. When everything in life once came easy, it's time for Maisie to learn how to get things the hard way.
I honestly love books that challenge the social norm such as this one. Everyone would like to think "we don't judge a book by its cover"; including people as something that we don't judge automatically. I'm almost positive it's rare that people actually follow these guidelines. And this book shows just how much you don't. A girl who wouldn't consider herself beautiful has to come to terms with living with a face transplant and starts having a hard time with the scars on her face, the simple fact that her face isn't her own. It's tough for her, but it's eye opening for readers that we do judge people by their looks. Maisie spends most of the first part in the hospital as her body is recovering and before her transplant. A physical therapist comes in to help her with starting to move her body again. Maisie is unable to see her right away but just from her voice she paints this picture of a bubbly blonde woman, when she finally sees the woman it's an African American with an afro. Automatically showing that we will judge people; if not by looks then by the sound of their voice.
It's not a lie that we are a judgmental society. With social media allowing us to like peoples photos - and rumor has it that soon we will be able to dislike photos - it's become easier to be judgmental. It's sad, but it's true. And this book - Maisie - has to deal with becoming someone who gets judged. She's not use to the pressure that puts on her. She stays away from anything reflective so that she doesn't have to deal with the fact that she now looks different. Throughout the story many different characters tell her she's lucky, she blows them off in her mind because she believes she's not lucky. "How can I be lucky to have some other woman's face?" And as a reader it allows you to realize a)to be grateful for what you have b)to try harder to not judge a book by its cover and c)to not let what others think of you run how you live your life.
Maisie is a strong character; while she's strong she is also weak. I like that about her. She is a redeemable character because she is strong. Her weaknesses lie in how she perceives herself and others. One thing I've learned in life is most of the time, even if someone is looking at you, if they don't know you - they most likely don't care. Maisie automatically thinks that because her face is different others are caring about her. Her strength comes once she's started to heal, and when she finds a group to talk with. Where we meet Adam.
Adam takes a different approach than Maisie. He brings light to his injuries. Seeing that people are staring at him he believes it to be out of curiosity. Honestly it most likely is. When we see injuries automatically we want to know more; how did it happen, when did it happen, why did it happen, how badly did it hurt? We are not only judgmental, we are curious. And Adam brings that out in the story and helps Maisie to see that.
While reading this book it's hard not to think about what I would do in this position or how I would react to someone who had been in this position. I first and foremost would hope that I wouldn't judge her, that I would be conscientious of Maisie's feelings. And if I were in that position I hope that I would realize just how lucky I was to be alive after the accident.
Like so many writers, I grew up loving books. I loved stories so much that when there was nothing to read, I wrote my own stories just to give myself something to read. And when there was no pen and paper to be had, I made up stories and acted them out by myself. I played all the parts, and I was never bored.