Wednesday, October 6, 2010

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

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?
The cover was just so beautiful, I snatched this book up without even reading the back. The exposition, which lasts a bit too long for me, was detailed and creative, though it bored me a little. I was winding down in my reading after the first hundred pages, and the book wasn't living up to my expectations. Then, out of nowhere, BAM! I was turning pages faster and faster, and I could suddenly see through Terra's eyes. The emotions became so prominent I almost missed parts of the story, and the staggeringly vivid descriptions and analogies to maps made me visualize everything. Terra wasn't too sweet or too overdone, but just the right amount of meek and kind, while Jacob was over-the-top in everything, but that only made me love him more. Her father's cruelty left me angry and wanting to hit something, I'll admit, but the way her mother handled the situation was most definitely satisfying. I finished North of Beautiful wishing desperately for more, and the story definitely leaves it open to the reader's imagination, which I sometimes hate, but found myself loving in this case.
4.4 stars and a huge recommendation to all young adult readers.


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