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.
What worked: This is a captivating story of a teen coming to terms with a face transplant. The author does a fab job of showing the internal struggle of dealing with not only the terrible accident but the surgery that comes after. I loved how Maisie deals with the pain of loss(which basically has happened) to realizing how everything in her life has changed.
Maisie's reactions to her surgery are very similar one goes through during a traumatic event. The relationship of her boyfriend Chirag starts off as intense but after the accident, it's almost as if he's too afraid to say how he really feels about the change.
After the face transplant, her mother insists she complete her senior year in high school. At first I was like, why doesn't she homeschool Maisie like she asked? Maybe I felt this way as I homeschool. Only later do I see that going back to her school, though painful at first, helps her arc as a character. We see the ugly--kids staring at her and making not too nice comments. We see the not so great--Maisie taking a lot of immunosuppressive meds, that help her body not reject the transplant but have nasty side effects. We see the awkward--when she's at a restaurant with Chirag, who pulls back when her leg 'accidently' brushes against hers. Mostly though, we see a teen who has to make a choice. Will she follow the doctors or will she decide not to. One of those choices has a deadly consequence.
The family relationship was on the mark too. I liked how Maisie shows how much she resents her mother and others trying to control her. Her independent streak is still there though at times she still longs for how things used to be. This is a huge plus in this novel as readers see Maisie go from being a victim of a horrific accident to one that does arc at the end of the story.
Riveting portrayal of an accident victim who struggles to come to grips with not only a new face but the person she becomes.