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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

While on a run one day, Maise gets into a terrible accident. A hot-burning electrical fire consumes her, destroying her face. Where her nose, cheeks, and chin used to be, now there is . . . nothing. She is lucky enough to qualify for a face transplant. But with someone else's features staring back at her in the mirror, Maise 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 recognize herself. From Alyssa Sheinmel, the acclaimed author of Second Star, comes 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.…


by Alyssa Sheinmel

Overall Book Review:

Young adult author Alyssa Sheinmel’s latest novel, Faceless, brings science fiction to a head, and spins it into reality with the topic of face transplant. Seriously, face transplant! Although the subject does sound futuristic, and a bit unbelievable, it is a real, though rare, medical procedure.

Told through first person perspective, teen protagonist Maisie Winters seems like your all-American, typical teen; then tragedy strikes – quite literally. Now Maisie must learn to be comfortable in a skin that’s not entirely her own, while navigating the exigency of high school, relationships, and self-acceptance.

Starting off fast, the accident happens within the first chapter, not giving time for the protagonist and reader to get acquainted, this creates a bit of a disconnect, which makes the time in which Maisie is in the hospital feel imbalanced. It read like a made for TV Lifetime movie – semi-interesting, overly dramatic, with awkward character portrayals.

Weather the down point because the book really does get better, much better! The connection between reader and protagonist grows as Maisie goes through her grieving process, the dynamics between characters becomes clear, and the author is able to teach the reader a lot about dealing with shock, misfortune, and survival.  

Progressively clever, sassy, and insightful, Faceless makes an impact.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  29 religious exclamations; 4 scatological words.

Violence/Gore:  Brief mention of accident including destruction of property; report of death from injuries; secondhand report of death by car accident; minimal explanation of intricate surgery; secondhand report of gunshot victim; extended scene (about ½ page) character recounts dreams about a fatal car accident; secondhand report of shark attack; secondhand report or accident; report of violent injury; character slaps another character; report of character breaking sibling’s nose.

Sex/Nudity:  Character is nude to receive medical treatment; character briefly fantasizes about a kiss and touch (2x); mention of pregnancy test and birth control; teen briefly recalls what it’s like to kiss their significant other; teen character laments about still being a virgin and fears he/she will be one forever; kiss on head; mention of kiss and holding hands; character witnesses other characters kissing (2x); few (about 5) mentions of making out; character remembers a kiss (2x); character thinks about what it would be like to undress with another character in a sexual nature; kiss (2x).

Mature Subject Matter:

Severe injury, hospitalization, face transplant, psychological and emotional trauma, quarreling parents.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Mention of cigarette; implication that alcohol is being consumed by teens at a party as they designate sober drivers; medical drugs.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I appreciate books of all genres, but my main squeeze is fiction. Depending on my mood it could be romance or suspense; lately I’ve been courting fantasy. When I don’t have my nose in a book, I am locating tasty paleo recipes, writing in-coherent poetry, and crafting with paper.