Wednesday, February 10, 2010

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

Terra Cooper was born with a port wine stain that covers one cheek and has dealt with numerous surgeries and treatments to try to at least make it fade a bit her entire life. She's also dealt with numerous taunts from her peers and has resorted to wearing thick pancake makeup to cover it. Her verbally abusive and degrading father has managed to destroy anything that was left of her self-esteem. She doesn't think she's good enough to have a boyfriend that truly cares for her, so she settles for a self-absorbed jock who only really cares about his muscles. Then one day, by chance, Terra meets Jacob, somewhat of an outsider himself, and through him, she is finally able to accept herself and learn to heal.

To sum up this book in a short paragraph is so hard to do.  North of Beautiful is more than just about self-acceptance. It's a book about growth, healing, family, and self-discovery. Justina Chen Headley has done an amazing job with creating characters you love and characters you hate, but above all, creating characters who are real. Through Terra's journey, the reader is forced to think about what true beauty is and the power of thinking positively about yourself. Terra turns from someone who hides her true self into a courageous young woman who learns to love herself and accept who she is, flaws and all.

North of Beautiful is a beautifully-written and inspiring book that will appeal to many teens. I highly recommend it.

Reading Level: Young Adult | ISBN: 978-0316025065 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | Source: Purchased copy

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