Losing Face

BookendsCindy and Lynn: So many of us are running around frantically—it’s that time of year. Like our mothers told us, we’d lose our heads if they weren’t attached. But recently, some teen books seem to have done just that—well, almost. Lately, we’ve noticed a steady flow of teen books with figures on the covers that, while not exactly headless, are missing many or all of their facial features.


Perhaps the trend started with R. J. Palacio’s 2012 phenomenal hit, Wonder, about a boy named Auggie with facial deformities. A surge of disappearing features followed. (Adult books are not immune, as evidenced by this year’s The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonsen.) There’s an apparent shortage of noses, with eyes following closely behind.  Here are some teen books that we suggest you take a look at. . . if you have eyes, that is.



100 Days, by Nicole McInnes

Face, by Benjamin Zephaniah

Symptoms of Being Human, by Jeff Garvin

The Truth Commission, by Susan Juby

Unbecoming, by Jenny Downham

Wonders of the Invisible World, by Christopher Barzak



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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