Monday, March 22, 2010

Review: North Of Beautiful

Title: North of Beautiful
Author: Justina Chen Headley

From GoodReads, "Born with a port-wine stain birthmark covering her entire right cheek, Terra Rose Cooper is ready to leave her stifling, small Washington town where everyone knows her for her face. With her critical, reproachful father and an obese mother who turns to food to deflect her father's verbal attacks, home life for Terra isn't so great either. Fueled by her artistic desires, she plans to escape to an East Coast college, thinking this is her true path. When her father intercepts her acceptance letter, Terra is pushed off-course, and she is forced to confront her deepest insecurities. After an ironically fortuitous car accident, Terra meets Jacob, a handsome but odd goth Chinese boy who was adopted from China as a toddler. Jacob immediately understands Terra's battle with feeling different. When Terra's older brother invites her and her mother to visit him in Shanghai, Jacob and his mother also join them on their journey, where they all not only confront the truth about themselves, but also realize their own true beauty. North of Beautiful is the engaging third YA novel by Justina Chen Headley. This is a gorgeously-written, compelling book featuring universal themes of defining true beauty, family bonds, personal strength, and love."

The main character in this book, Terra Rose Cooper, has a flaw... the left side of her face is covered by a port wine stain.  Terra works hard to make people notice everything else about her, but all people seem to notice is the mark on her face.  The whole book revolves around maps.  The physical maps of the places that Terra visits in the story and the emotion maps that Terra must work through to truly "find her way."  This wasn't a book that you could just sit down and read in one setting.  You had to read a little at a time and digest it.  The book has so many layers, it might be beneficial for me to read it another time so I am sure not to miss any of the subtle lessons.  I really liked all of the aspects and themes of this book and throughly enjoyed the creative way that Justina Chen Headley took me on a trip with the main character in the book.  I not only thought the main character was well written, but the supporting cast lead to the beauty of the book.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone that is willing to take a hard look at life's journey.

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