Monday, October 13, 2008

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

Terra Cooper is tall, blonde, and has an amazing figure. But when people look at her, all they see is the port-wine stain that marks her right cheek. Terra is determined to escape the stares in her small Washington town and attend college on the East Coast, but her controlling father won't pay for her tuition to go there. Everything seems to be falling apart, until Terra (literally) crashes into Jacob, a Goth Chinese boy who's the first person to truly understand her. Set to theme of maps, Terra travels outside of her comfort zone (in more ways than one) and learns that real beauty is on the inside.

This book was really good. I loved how everything was centered around maps: Terra's father is a cartographer and Terra makes many references to famous explorers, elements of maps, etc. Speaking of her father, he was a real piece of work. He was always putting down Terra and her mother and said some really nasty things to both of them. There was this whole level of tension between Terra and her father because he wouldn't pay the tuition of a private school and I couldn't help with agree with him. As the old saying goes, beggars can't be choosers, and if Terra wanted him to pay for college, then he got to dictate where she went.

Anyway, I loved having Terra as narrator because her voice was just so real. I felt like she could be an actual person; she was that complex. I thought it was really interesting reading about port-wine stains and how Terra had to deal with all the stares and comments. She was very resilient and strong, and a good role model for young girls. I also loved Jacob. He was such a great character. He was interesting and embodied all the traits that girls like to see in a boyfriend ; )

As for things I didn't like (they're aren't that many), Terra's mother was really weak. She let her husband walk all over her and it annoyed me. By the end, though, she gets a backbone which was nice to see. Also, there was this backstory with Terra's aunt who had died. They would mention it and I didn't see the point of the story until the end. I think it could have been explained a lot better, though.

Even so, the story had an important message: that inner beauty is what really counts. For anyone feeling down, this book will definitely give you a dose of self-confidence. And what about the cover? I think it's amazing! (Side Note: Wouldn't it be awesome if your face was on a book? I mean, that girl is out there somewhere, reading a book with her face on the cover. I'm so jealous!)

8 out of 10.

Release Date: February 2009


asdfjkl; said...

Okay, I could swear that the girl on this cover is the same girl on the Evermore cover! I just saw the Evermore cover on

Here is a link to the picture:

Seriously it has to be the same model!!!

Simply_Megan said...

Wow both those girls look exactly the same! And they have the same pose: looking down, hair covering side of the face...

asdfjkl; said...

It just has to be the same girl! I feel a little jealous at the moment. It would be awesome to be on a book cover not to mention do almost the exact picture for TWO books. That would be amazing! :)

Anonymous said...

the girl an the cover of this book is the same girl, i think