Faceless by Alyssa Sheinmel
This review is slightly longer than my usual reviews, as my opinion was quite mixed about it.
Blurb + Goodreads Summary
When Maisie is burnt in a terrible accident her face is partially destroyed. She’s lucky enough to get a face transplant, but how do you live when you can’t even recognise yourself anymore? As Maisie discovers how much her look shaped her relationship to the world, she has to redefine her own identity, and figure out what ‘lucky’ really means.
That was the blurb, this is the Goodreads Summary.
When Maisie Winters wakes up, she’s in the hospital.
The last thing she remembers is running through the hills of her neighbourhood one misty morning. Slowly, she puts the pieces together. Before she could make it home, a storm gathered. Lightning hit a power line and sparks rained down, the hot-burning electrical fire consuming her. Destroying her face. Where her nose, cheeks, and chin used to be, now there is…nothing.
Maisie’s lucky enough to qualify for a rare medical treatment: a face transplant. At least, everyone says she’s lucky. But with someone else’s features staring back at her in the mirror, Maisie looks—and feels—like a stranger. The doctors promised that the transplant was her chance to live a normal life again, but nothing feels normal anymore. Before, she knew who she was—a regular girl who ran track and got good grades, who loved her boyfriend and her best friend. Now, she can’t even recognise herself.
New York Times bestselling author Alyssa Sheinmel has created a gripping and gorgeously written tale of identity and love. This is a story of losing yourself and the long, hard fight to find your way back.
I enjoyed this book! I wouldn’t say it was amazing or anything, it did have some problems, but it was good! There have been several people comparing this book to If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, but personally, I thought the two books weren’t very similar at all. It may just be the fact that I read If I Stay 2 years ago, but the only similarity I found between the two books was the fact that the protagonist suffers a life threatening injury and goes into coma. Even this, is different, as in If I Stay, the main character, Mia, is in coma throughout the whole book, whereas in Faceless, we only see Maisie before and after the coma, which lasts less than a chapter. Both If I Stay and Faceless are both great books and are both different, nothing like each other.
To start off, let’s talk about what happened to Maisie. Maisie basically lost half her face in an electrical fire accident. As she put it herself, her face ‘just melted off. She’s lucky enough to get a face transplant, a rare occurrence, to heal her face. I like that the author Alyssa Sheinmel wrote about face transplants. It’s a surgery that not many people know about. Before reading this book, I didn’t even think face transplants were possible, let alone that they existed!
I really liked the message it was giving out too. It showed just how much appearances affect how society acts around us. The book’s basically saying that we’d probably be more likely to be accepted if we were pretty, or didn’t have any obvious injuries like Maisie did. And that’s probably true, and we need to change that.
The main ‘plot’ is on Maisie’s journey to loving herself, no matter what obstacles are in the way. It’s a nice, inspirational message, especially today when everything is about looks. Maisie basically tells you that you must love yourself no matter what and embrace changes. I think there should have been more to it, though, than just being accepted by her classmates and herself.
Okayyy now from the criticisms…I have a lot…
I was kinda shocked about the way people treated Maisie. After her face transplant, she went to school, and of course she didn’t look like she did before. On her first day back she was treated by people staring at her in the halls, laughing or just gaping at her with their mouths hanging open. Does this sort of thing really happen in real life? I highly doubt that people would treat classmates like that, it just seems slightly over-exaggerated. Sure, there will be a few people who’d treat Maisie like that – but the whole school? I don’t think so.
I also thought that the characters were slightly stereotypical. There’s Maisie, a pretty girl, sporty, on the school track team. She’s clever, a straight-A student. Her boyfriend Chirag is ‘perfect’, everyone likes him. He’s also clever, calm, likeable, kind. Best friend Serena’s been friends with Maisie since they were little, she’s funny, excitable, pretty. This all seems pretty unimaginative to me. The characters needed more personality than just that. Sure, they were likeable characters, but they were sooooo stereotypical!
I found the actual style of writing quite bland and simple. It wasn’t particularly exciting. I don’t know if the author Alyssa Sheinmel intended it to be like that – seeing as it is in the POV of Maisie – or if that’s just the way Alyssa Sheinmel writes, but I didn’t like it. It could’ve been a bit more “wow”, there was nothing great about it, that would make you remember the book.
To be honest, I found Maisie, the main character, really annoying. I understand that being on medication must have made her tired and angry, but it just made me really frustrated on how ungrateful she seemed to be to her doctors, friends and parents! Despite being in a life threatening injury, and partially losing her face, all she seemed to moan about was how her boyfriend didn’t accept her! It just made me really frustrated…but I guess that’s just my opinion on her character!
There were a lot of unanswered questions, but I won’t talk about them as most of them are spoilers. I just think that there could have been an epilogue, or an extra chapter, as several things just went unanswered.
So overall, I thought this book was OK. It was neither good nor bad. If you’d like to read a book that will make you cry and laugh, then you should certainly go ahead and read this, especially if you like to read dramatic, real-life books. It’s definitely a book that once you start you cannot put down, until you have finished it.
I’d rate 3.5 stars!
(Just assume that the sparkles are a half star😀)