At 13, a fire drastically altered Sicily Coyne’s life by not only killing her firefighter father but by completely destroying her face. The blaze happened in the chapel of her school, Holy Angels Catholic School, during choir practice on the last day of classes before Christmas vacation. Sicily happened to be in the last row of the choir's tiered structure, which aided her eventual escape. She also remembered the instructions her father had drilled into her for how to act during a disaster. She stayed calm and kept making choices, which allowed her to find her way to the door while flames leaped around her and the other students ran, shoving into her.
"Sicily is admirably courageous and self-effacing with a sassy, humorous voice, making for a hero readers will empathize with and applaud."
When she finally opened the door, Sicily was helped by her father's co-worker, a firefighter rookie named Renee Mayerling, until she was outside, falling on her face in the snow --- which is probably why her eyes were saved in the mass of burned flesh that was her face. Sicily's father made it outside, too, until he saw one little boy, his hair on fire, standing inside the chapel. He lost his life at age 44 during his heroic attempt to save the child.
Twelve years later, on the fire's anniversary, Sicily's life appears to be in good shape. Sure, her face, which has endured 25 reconstructive surgeries, causes strangers to gasp in horror, and she must take special care of the skin grafted onto her face. She describes her reconstructed face this way: "…my many surgeries had left my face shaped roughly like the face of a snowman, if that snowman had been put together from bits of cheap plastic in slightly different colors. The strange contours had the effect of making it seem that I was wearing some kind of mask…"
But she has a job she is good at and enjoys, as a medical illustrator. She lives in a nice apartment, joined by a kitchen to the apartment