I received this book as a galley from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Sicily Coyn lost her father and was horribly burned in a fire when she was 13 years old. Twelve years later, Sicily has grown into an accomplished adult with a close circle of family and friends who see beyond her scars. When a doctor offers her a chance to have a face transplant, she refuses, feeling like she doesn’t need it to live a good life. When she learns some hard truths about her fiance and calls off the wedding, she changes her mind about the surgery and places herself, and her family, on an unforgettable path. (If you read The Deep End of the Ocean, you will become reacquainted with the Cappadora family.)
This book reaches out and grabs you on so many levels that it’s hard to put it all in writing. First of all, the description of Sicily’s life before she decides to have the transplant is what really makes the book. I think many readers wished that she would just get it done already, but in order to appreciate the after, you must know the before. On the surface Sicily is confident, but beneath that facade is a woman who believes deep down that she must settle for what she can get. Mitchard obviously did research on burn victims and what they go through after they try to rejoin the life they had before their circumstances changed. The deep emotion and bitter-sweetness that is infused into the decision making process makes you wonder, along with Sicily, whether this is the right decision for her.
Her life after the transplant is all about discovery; not only a discovery of a new life with a new face, but of who she really is and how much her injury has crippled her emotionally. It’s in the second half of the book that we find her more isolated than she ever was with a disfigured face. A dramatic turn of events forces her into isolation and gives her a chance to appreciate, worry, and examine who she really is and what she really wants. This is not a conventional love story and it’s not a romance novel. There are no neat little packages to be wrapped up at the end. This is a story that is engaging and emotional, with decisions that stay with you long after the story has ended. I gave this book 4 stars.
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