Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Review: North of Beautiful

Book cover
Title: North of Beautiful
Author: Justina Chen Headley
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Pub Date: February 2009, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 373 pages
Book Source: gift from my sister-in-law :-)


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. 

My Thoughts

I figure that I must be among the last few people to read this book. It's been on my wish-list for awhile but for some reason I just never got around to it, despite seeing many great reviews out there. Perhaps I felt like it wasn't going to live up to them or be the kind of story I really enjoyed reading. Who knows? After finishing this book, I probably don't really have much to add to the other reviews you've already seen, but I'd still like to give my 2 cents worth, nonetheless.

Headley is simply able to touch your emotions, there is no doubt about it. The verdict: this book is as moving and powerful as everyone else has said it is. The story is about so much more than true beauty as it also examines Terra's family situation, her relationships with her mother, father and brothers. Now that isn't to say that it isn't generally predictable, because in truth it is. But it is the writing that grabs you and keeps you drawn into Terra's story. I can also admit that certain parts of the story brought tears to my eyes, even though I can't say that I can relate to any part of it.

There are not really any new messages in this book about beauty, family, or anything else. However, there really is nothing "North of Beautiful" about this book, either, it truly is touching and I'm glad I finally got around to reading it.

My rating: 4 stars

Other reviews of North of Beautiful:

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  1. *raises hand* I'm also one of the few who hasn't read this yet.

    I will get around to it one day, because it sounds like a brilliant book. Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. I haven't read it either. In fact this is the first time I have heard of it, so I am definitely out of the know.

  3. Oh my! I can not tell you how much I want to read this book. Its been on my wistlist since I heard about it!

    Wonderful review.

  4. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a group of girls read this and then do a beauty collage? Love Readergirlz books...

  5. Like commentators before me, I also have not read this book nor have I heard all that much about it. Probably because I usually am not all that interested in YA but since this one at least isn't a paranormal YA romance I am actually interested in giving it a try.

  6. I read "North of Beautiful" about a year ago and loved it! I think it is my favorite YA book to date! And I listed it in my top ten books I read in 2009. Glad you liked it!

  7. I keep moving this to the bottom of my TBR list but I think I will grab it next time!
    Check out my blog -


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