Monday, October 11, 2010
Review: North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
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.
Review: North of Beautiful is an astounding book. I can't put it into words, but something about this book is just amazing.
Headley has a way of making a plot slow, but not boring. And I don't mean slow in a bad way. The pacing of the lot allows the story to unfold and show us all its complexities.
The characters also had a different feel tot hem. They were simple yet complex. Both Terra and Jacob have a history of having something that takes away "beauty", and I think this helps readers relate to them. At some point in time we have all felt that there was something ugly about us.
This is a beautiful book that I encourage everyone to read if you haven't already. It really does make you step back and think about what beauty really is.