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Faceless by Alyssa Sheinmel

Faceless (2015)

by Alyssa Sheinmel

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1235154,737 (3.95)None
Maisie is a normal sixteen-year-old, until an electrical fire caused by a lightning strike leaves her with severe burns, her face partially destroyed--she is lucky enough to get a full face transplant but she soon discovers how much her looks shaped her own identity and her relationship with those around her, including her boyfriend.… (more)



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A strong YA novel. Students will love the page-turning tale of Maisie and how she faces a life-altering accident. ( )
  Beth.Clarke | Jun 28, 2019 |
I recommend everyone reading this book to read the article the author mentioned in the acknowledgements. Raffi Khatchadourian wore a fascinating and detailed article in the February 2012 "New Yorker" about a man who received a full face transplant as well covering the history of transplants and a few other successful and unsuccessful cases. I ended up reading the article after reading a few chapters of the book and saw that the article greatly influenced the book. One thing that the article covers in greater depth than the book is the great risk inherent in any transplant. The book does address it but does not include the fact that no one with a face transplant has survived longer than ten years or so. Also one of the doctors quoted in the article said that the patients are made aware that death is a real possibility, not just a slight risk. It's an interesting dilemma- live life with missing all or part of your face, not having sensation and the risks and pain involved with multiple skin grafts and surgeries, or a transplant that improves appearance but is still not "normal" but possibly regain sensation, but have to take pills the rest of your life that have serious side effects on your daily functioning and also no guarantee on how long the transplant might last or if compilations might end your life. I really don't know what I'd choose and I hope I never have to find out. ( )
  wrightja2000 | Sep 6, 2018 |
I loved this book in the same way I loved The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen, and really, the stories are very similar. Maisie suffers from a terrible accident at the beginning of the story, losing the majority of her face in a fire. After a face transplant, she has to come to terms with the loss of her old self and accept who she is now.

She faces a long journey, but it is a journey that is very satisfying and inspirational to read about. I found myself in tears as she comes to accept herself and realize that, while something very terrible happened to her, it does not have to be the thing that defines her.

I loved this book and give it five very enthusiastic stars. A definite must-read with a great message about accepting yourself for your flaws and learning that life is what you make it. ( )
  AmyBreiter | Jun 9, 2017 |
This was a fascinating read about a teenage girl who had to have a face transplant after a freak accident, and it was clearly obvious that the author had put a huge amount of research into the topic before writing this novel. Although I found Maise's physical and emotional journey compelling as she battled with loss, grief and finally acceptance, I didn't really like her; I preferred Maisie's friends - Serena, Chirag and Adam. I also found the plot a bit slow and I was never really emotionally connected with the book. However, I do think "Faceless" was a worthwhile read as I learnt quite a bit about face transplants. ( )
  HeatherLINC | May 7, 2016 |
The last thing Maisie remembers is running in the rain and seeing a lightning strike that looked like fireworks. Then she woke up in the hospital. Her field of vision is limited due to gauze wrapped around her head, and the left side of her body is so painful she can hardly handle it. The only people she sees are her parents and her doctors, of which there are many. As Maisie becomes more aware of what is going on around her and becomes more persistent in asking what has happened, she finally hears part of the story: she was running, there was a lightning strike, a fire started, and she was burned. Her face was burned the worst, melting off her nose and her cheek. And now she must decide if she wants a face transplant or skin grafts. Her life is already changed forever, and once she makes her decision, there is no gong back. As Maisie learns to live her life again, she also has to learn to like herself again; when she looks in the mirror, she doesn't see herself, and she has to come to terms with who she is now. I like this story. It is tragic, but the lessons Maisie learns can be taken by anyone, even if they haven't had a very traumatic or life-altering accident. She has to learn priorities, what it means to be who she is, who her real friends are, and how to interact with her family and friends. There are some heartbreaking parts of the story, but in the end, Maisie is on her way to recovery. Maisie's situation made me think about my priorities and what I complain about that is silly, and think there are people who have much more to complain about that I do. I need to be more grateful for my life and the people and things in it. ( )
  litgirl29 | Mar 17, 2016 |
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Haiku summary
Teen years are hard -- e'en
More so when you don't know the 
Reflection you see.


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