Alyssa Sheinmel’s Faceless had me hooked from the very beginning. The story starts when Maisie, optimistic and loved up after being asked to prom by her boyfriend, goes out for an early morning run in a storm. When lightening strikes an electricity pylon near her home she is horrifically injured, losing most of her face and suffering burns down her left side. She survives, and is ‘lucky’ enough to be offered a face transplant to give her a better chance of a normal life.
The novel deals, essentially, with the themes of identity and grief. Maisie struggles to place herself in this new life in which she cannot run, is changed by her medication but also doesn’t look like herself anymore. She mourns her old self, pushes people away and then finds her way back.
I really enjoyed the fact that, after the initial drama and trauma, the rest of the story is fairly understated. We follow Maisie as she goes through all these new emotions and I think the way her ‘recovery’ is written is very believable. There’s just the right amount of interaction with her friends and family, internal struggle and optimism without any of it being overpowering. Thoroughly recommended.