young adult book reviews & more

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

North of BeautifulTerra Cooper has a perfect body, tall, blonde, toned, in all respects except one—her face. The rest of her physical perfection seems to be forgotten when people see the birthmark splashing across her cheek. Terra can generally deal with this though, with layers of makeup, but she has a more difficult time handling her controlling father. It’s because of him that Terra’s mapped out future has become an impossible path since he’s forbidden her to attend the college of her choice. But then Terra unexpectedly meets Jacob, a surprising boy unapologetic for the way he dresses who’s more like Terra than she thinks. He challenges her perspectives on everything in her life, pushing her father off the course she’s charter for herself, until she doesn’t really know how to get back on track—or if she wants to.

North of Beautiful is a beautifully written story about identity, love, and inner beauty. Justina Chen Headley’s writing is very artistic and skilled with the way she creates such complex and realistic characters in emotionally trying situations. Terra’s character begins as an insecure girl who lets a birthmark and fear of her father dominate her life, but through meeting Jacob and traveling to China, she grows into a more independent, self aware, and confident young woman. Terra’s story is such an inspirational one, because Terra is able to learn to love herself despite having been ridiculed nearly all her life, especially by someone so close as her father, for something as insignificant as a physical characteristic. Justina Chen Headley brings the story and most of her characters to life by presenting both the negative and positive qualities of each situation and person, showing that even good people make mistakes and that even the bad guys can have some good in them. I honestly don’t think I can point out any major flaws in this structure or writing of this story, and any grievances I had concerning the occasional boringly descriptive passage were cancelled out the overall success of this novel in its sweetness, realism, and portrayal of true beauty.

I recommend North of Beautiful to any teen girl who’s ever doubted herself and fans of All About Vee by C. Leigh Purtill, Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee, Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell, and anything by Sarah Dessen or Deb Caletti. I can’t wait to read more from Justina Chen Headley in Girl Overboard.

Rating: 4.5

Review copy from publisher Little, Brown

8 munch(es) :

Readingjunky said...

I really liked this one. I still think about it a lot. You are right - great for girls struggling with similar self-doubt issues.

Priya said...

This is one of my favorite books.

Anonymous said...

Nice review. I need to read this. ;)

Melanie said...

I just checked this book out of the library today! I can't wait to read it. The cover is absolutely gorgeous!

Justina Chen said...

Thank you, Book Muncher! I am so honored my book was munched by YOU.


Briana said...

I want to read this book so bad, the description is so intriguing and the cover is adorable!


MeganDreamer said...

This sounds so good. This is definitely on my list to read now =)

Nicolette said...

I read this book and now it is one of my favorite books and Terra is now one of my favorite characters. This book was amazing! Great review! :)

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