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North of Beautiful
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North of Beautiful
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As he continued to stare, I wanted to point to my cheek and remind him, But you were the one who wanted this, remember? You're the one who asked-and I repeat-Why not fix your face? It's hard not to...
As he continued to stare, I wanted to point to my cheek and remind him, But you were the one who wanted this, remember? You're the one who asked-and I repeat-Why not fix your face? It's hard not to...
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Description-

  • As he continued to stare, I wanted to point to my cheek and remind him, But you were the one who wanted this, remember? You're the one who asked-and I repeat-Why not fix your face?

    It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper.

    She's tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably "flawed" face. Terra secretly plans to leave her stifling small town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father. When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob's path, the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and her life, and she is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?

    Written in lively, artful prose, award-winning author Justina Chen Headley has woven together a powerful novel about a fractured family, falling in love, travel, and the meaning of true beauty.

About the Author-

  • Justina Chen is the author of Return to Me, North of Beautiful, Girl Overboard, and Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies). While the Pacific Northwest is her home base, Justina feels equally at home wherever she goes with her pen, journal, and coconut black tea. Her website is justinachen.com.

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books sparrow123 - It's amazing! It is for an older age group and the reading level is high. If you aren't good with understanding and inferring what words mean you will have trouble. But, besides that anyone can read it! Well, the male gender may struggle to enjoy this book, but if you're a girl who loves hilarious and romantic novels... This is the book for you!
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 1, 2008
    Laced with metaphors about maps and treasure, Headley’s (Girl Overboard
    ) finely crafted novel traces a teen’s uncharted quest to find beauty. Two things block Terra’s happiness: a port-wine stain on her face and her verbally abusive father, a failed cartographer who views her as ugly and belittles the collages she creates. A car accident brings her together with Jacob, an Asian-born adoptee with unconventional ideas. Besides introducing her to new pursuits like geocaching, a treasure-hunting game using GPS, Jacob ends up traveling with her when they have an opportunity to visit China together with their mothers. The trip, far-reaching on many different levels, gives Terra a chance to rethink the past and re-map her goals. Taking readers to America’s Northwest, then to China and back again, the author confidently addresses very large, slippery questions about the meaning of art, travel, love and of course beauty. All of her characters hold secrets; finding them out will be as rewarding as Terra’s discoveries of caches. Ages 12–up.

  • School Library Journal

    February 1, 2009
    Gr 7 Up-Terra's body is very nearly perfect, except for the port-wine birthmark on her left cheek, which several surgeries have failed to remove. It is the teen's final semester of high school and she looks forward to college where she can study art and escape from her bullying, verbally abusive father. Over the Christmas holidays, Terra and her mother get into a car accident and meet Jacob, a Goth Chinese boy with a cleft lip, and his adoptive mother. The women immediately strike up a supportive friendship, while Terra and Jacob grow close. When Terra's brother, who lives in Shanghai, sends her and her mother tickets to visit, and Jacob's mother wants to try to track down Jacob's birth mother, they decide to travel together. But what about Erik, Terra's enamored but slightly clueless boyfriend? Headley's ambitious novel is written in a beautifully crafted style that flows seamlessly. The pace is somewhat bogged down in the first half but it quickens when the characters travel to China, where Jacob, Terra, and their mothers begin to confront their insecurities. Terra and Jacob are flawed, complex, and memorable characters. The message that true beauty and strength come from within is dominant, but this is also a moving and satisfying story in its own right."Amy J. Chow, The Brearley School, New York City"

    Copyright 2009 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    January 21, 2010
    Terra is the aptly named daughter of a mapmaker living in Washington's stunning Methow Valley. Despite her father's criticism, she strives for perfect beauty, hiding the port-wine birthmark that marks her cheek under layers of heavy makeup. Terra and her mother are on their way home from another cosmetic surgery when a traffic accident introduces them to Jacob, a Chinese goth, and Norah, his adoptive mother. It is their friendship, and an invitation to Jacob's home country, that change Terra's and her mother's lives and gives them the courage to confront her abusive father. Love-o-meter: Tender. Although Terra is at first torn between Jacob and her high school boyfriend, she learns to love herself and her idiosyncratic travel companion when faced with the enormity of China. Just before their first kiss, Jacob fingers her stained cheek and tells her it reminds him of Bhutan.-Angelina Benedetti, King Cty. Lib. Syst., WA

    Copyright 2010 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from February 15, 2009
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* Sixteen-year-old Terra seems to be a typical high-achieving high-school student. Under her heavy makeup, though, she hides a port-wine colored birthmark on her cheek that makes her feel like an outsider. During yet another attempt to remove the birthmark, Terra runs into Jacob, a gorgeous Goth with a cleft-palette scar. That encounter initiates a transformation in both Terra and her subservient mother. Headley has written an exquisite book that explores the difference between physical and true beauty as Terra and her mother travel from Washington state to China, and from the home of a shame-faced, cruel cartographer into the presence of an adventurous, strong woman and her insightful teenage son. Headley uses map metaphors throughout, even in the activity, geocaching, which helps bond Terra and Jacob in both Washington and China. She also uses Terras artistic medium, collage, as a literary device to create layer upon layer of experiences and insights into a artfully written journey of self-discovery, self-actualization, and love. With every carefully chosen word, well-crafted sentence, and fully developed character, Headley maps out a wholly satisfying reading experience that takes readers from terra nullis to terra firma.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2009, American Library Association.)

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    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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