*****5 Heartbreaking Beautiful Stars*****
Words can't even express the feelings this book will give you after reading. This is a heartfelt story about growing up, facing life and death, overcoming boundaries and obstacles and just about love.
I haven't read a story this powerful in awhile and I was BLOWN away by how the author tugged at all my heartstrings. The first thing I thought when I started reading was.....OH NO....not a high school romance!!
"Maybe everyone represents a piece of the puzzle.
We all fit together to create this experience we call
life. None of us can see the part we play or the way
it all turns out. Maybe the miracles that we see are
just the tip of the iceberg. And maybe we just don't
recognize the blessings that come as a result of terrible things."
But it wasn't....yeah a portion of the book was set in high school with flashbacks to childhood but the book never once got caught up with the drama of high school. Instead the author paid attention to the relationships between between the main characters and minor characters.
Then by the synopsis the author gives of the book, many would think a majority of the story is about war and being a soldier, but again that is wrong. This is a beautiful story about friendship and love. It is a story about the journeys through life the 3 main characters experience together and separately.
This story is about a young girl named Fern who suffered childhood and high school with red hair, buck teeth, freckles and thick glasses and on the opposite end of the spectrum is Ambrose who is supermodel perfect, gorgeous long dark hair and a perfect face. Then we have Bailey who is cousin/best friends with Fern. Bailey suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy and is wheelchair bound.
What can I say about Fern? The miracle baby who was cursed with flaming red hair and a case of the UGLY GIRL SYNDROME. Her best friend is Bailey, her cousin, and they lean on each other to get through the tragedies of childhood and high school. Fern has been in love with Ambrose since she was 10 years old and has tried to get him to notice her but why would a guy as handsome as Ambrose want a homely girl like Fern? Everything comes out in the wash when Fern writes love letters to Ambrose for her friend Rita and Ambrose finds out. It is then, Fern confesses her true feelings for him and he walks away.
"You read smutty romance novels and quote scripture."
As the ugly duckling grows into a beautiful swan, so does Fern while Ambrose is away fighting in war. When Ambrose returns home, Fern is faced with a challenge of getting him to open up and live again. Will Fern be able to get Ambrose to love her? Will she finally know what it feels like to live out the fantasies she reads in her romance novels?
"I think about your long red hair and your sweet mouth, and the way your little body feels when it's pressed up against me, and I just want to put my hands on you. Everywhere. And I forget that I am ugly and alone and confused as hell."
The picture perfect handsome man who excels at everything he does in life. He is drop dead gorgeous along with being champion at wrestling. He is everyone's hero or as Bailey calls him "Hercules". But does Ambrose want to continue to try to live up to the town's expectations of him? No, instead he decides to run away to the Army and talks his 4 best friends into coming with him.
Ambrose comes home from war alone suffering from a battle wound which disfigures his face and makes him look like a monster. He is blind and deaf on his right side and thinks he will never be able to make a life for himself and lives with the guilt of his friends' death.
"I used to be afraid of going to hell. But now that I'm here, hell doesn't seem so bad."
It isn't until Fern starts leaving him little messages at his father's bakery and slowly pulls him out of his shell, that Ambrose begins to heal. It is through Fern and Bailey, that Ambrose learns he still has strength not only physically but emotionally as well. He sees the life which Fern and Bailey have been dealt and realizes that not everyone is better off than him.
"Because terrible things happen to everyone, Brosey.
We're all just so caught up in our own crap that we
don't see the shit everyone else is wading through."
Ahhh sweet Bailey - how my heart broke for you in this story. Bailey was an old soul in a broken body. He was the true hero in this story who was the foundation between the town. Even though he couldn't wrestle, he was at every practice, camp and game helping out any way that he could. He never let Fern down and was always there trying to make her life a bit more happier.
"Problem is, how am I going to get a handful of tit if I
can't lift my arms?"
He was also the emotional strength behind Ambrose. Bailey was the one who told it straight and didn't pull any punches when it came to helping a friend out. Bailey made the best out of the life he was given and lived each day to the fullest.
"I think that's the worst part. The thought that no one will
remember me when I'm gone. Sure, my parents will. Fern
will. But how does someone like me live on? When it's all .
said and done, did I matter?"
She is friends with Fern and Bailey and is the most beautiful girl in town. Fern wrote the love letters to Ambrose for her and Bailey was madly in love with her.
Asshole villian of the story and is a typical bully. He picks on Bailey through school and Ambrose confronts him. He also plays a pretty major part in the last part of the book.
Grant, Jesse, Bean and Paulie
Ambrose's best friends who signed up with him to go to war.
This is a book which will make you cry but leave a smile on your face. If you don't come away with a lesson from this book, you didn't read it good enough.
If you don't do anything else this year.....at least read this book and give your heart a bit of a jump start!!