15 September 2009

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

North of Beautiful is a book about love, adventure, family, pain, and strength. There is so much packed into one whole story that it's difficult to write a synopsis that does it justice.

Terra Cooper has long blond hair and a killer body, but all too often people can't see beyond the port-wine stain covering her left cheek. No matter what she and her mother have tried in order to cover, lighten, or get rid of the birthmark, it looks like it's there to stay. Her dad is adamant that the family is no longer allowed to waste any more money on Terra's face; her mom, always well-meaning, thinks Terra "will be so beautiful" if only one of the treatments will work; her boyfriend Erik just wonders "why not fix your face?"; and her best friend Karin seems to be secure in the fact that she's the prettier one. It is only when Terra meets Jacob, with the cleft lip and the complicated childhood, that she begins to learn to feel comfortable in her own skin.

This is a beautiful story that follows not only Terra and Jacob as they persevere to find where their paths in the world are, but also their families, as they all struggle to recognize the relationships that matter the most and the things that are truly important in life. With interesting conversations about maps, travel, and history, this story has broad appeal, especially those who loved John Green's Paper Towns.

Recommended to all readers.
Call number: YA HEADLEY (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

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