North of Beautiful

North of Beautiful

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Justina Chen Headley

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  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Format: Paperback | 373 pages
  • Dimensions: 137mm x 208mm x 30mm | 295g
  • Publication date: 17 February 2010
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0316025062
  • ISBN 13: 9780316025065
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 51,291

Product description

From the author of Nothing But the Truth comes a powerful novel about a fractured family, falling in love, travel, and the true meaning of beauty. Headley's finely crafted novel traces a teen's uncharted quest to find beauty.--Publishers Weekly (starred review).

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Author information

Justina Chen Headley's life were a map, it would be dotted with destinations from around the world. Despite her ability to get lost anywhere, she revels in traveling and has lived in Australia and China. Her first young adult novel, "Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies), " won the 2007 Asian Pacific American Award for Youth Literature. Her second book, featuring a gutsy snowboarder, "Girl Overboard," won praise from Olympic Gold Medalist and fellow snowboarder Hannah Teter. Justina is a co-founder of "readergirlz," an online book community for teens, and lives in Washington with her two children. You can visit her online at justinachenheadley.com.

Customer reviews

By Juhina & Farah 17 Nov 2011 5

Wow, this book truly blew me away, however that only happened in the later half of the book. I started reading this book way back in January, however I was so frustrated with many of the characters that i stopped reading. Now i'm glad I picked it up for my readathon and finished it.

This story speaks to the millions of women who feel insecure about themselves, who feel that they are "never good enough" and only want to gain the superficial beauty the media has been feeding down our throats these days. It also speaks to the women who have been always put down by a supposed loved one, who have been verbally abused and made fun of and made to believe that they are nothing and never will be anything or achieve anything great. As you can see this story touched my heart in a way other books didn't. I am a huge feminist and coming from a region where they aren't big on women's rights, you might see how this book affected me.

At first I was frustrated with Terra for never sticking up for herself and also for her mom for silently taking such verbal abuse and belittling from her supposed husband. It also frustrated me that Terra's two older brothers couldn't leave the house fast enough and were always on the sidelines watching, and never actually stopping their father, who has become more as a figure for everything they hated about their lives than an actual father.

When Terra and her mom met Jacob and his mom, their journey for the acceptance they always wanted and the realization that this all comes within themselves began. Terra was the fighter between the two. Her mom always stood behind her, as if the roles were reversed. Through this journey, which brought them all the way to China, Terra came to realize the true meaning of beauty and her mom saw herself as a person that is worthy to be loved, and accepted for who she is.

This book had me thinking so much, days after I finished it, I wished that I could become as strong as Terra was in the end. I wished that there is a way to reach out to women stuck in these situations, and for people to accept themselves and love themselves, because every single person is beautiful, you just need to look for the true beauty to see it. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to read a book with a deep message. However there is a romance element in this book, and while i crave for those in books in general, all i wanted to read about here is the journey of these two women, and where it would take them.

By TeensReadToo 27 Sep 2010 5

Can a perfect body make up for an imperfect face?

Terra Cooper hopes so, though she knows that no matter how great her figure is, it won't stop people from staring at her port-wine stain. Her birthmark has always haunted her, a stubborn red splotch marring her face, that won't go away no matter how many expensive laser treatments she undergoes. The latest technology always loses the battle with Terra's face.

Terra's birthmark isn't her only problem, though. If only life were that simple.

Although Terra is accepted into Williams College, her first choice East Coast school, her father says it is out of the question. What he doesn't understand is that his overbearing presence is a big contributing factor to why Terra longs to flee from Washington. She would feel guilty for leaving her mom alone to fend for herself against her father's never-ending onslaught of insults. However, like her older brothers, Terra wants nothing more than to leave and start someplace fresh.

With a dysfunctional family and a boyfriend, Erik, that knows her body far better than he knows her, Terra has nothing to anchor her in Colville, Washington.

When Terra inadvertently (quite literally) runs into a Goth Chinese boy and his coffee bean mogul mother, her life takes an interesting turn. Jacob understands her in ways that Erik could never even aspire to. It's almost eerie how clearly he sees past her facades and can read her mind.

Is it cheating to visit China with a boy who is not your boyfriend? How about if your mother and his mother are along for the ride?

Justina Chen Headley seems to get better with each book she writes, and NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL is by far her strongest work thus far. Headley never oversimplifies emotions or situations, and even her periphery characters have impressive depth. With an eclectic mix of cartography, collage-making, and geocaching, she paints a tender story with hipster flair.

Headley celebrates Terra's successes and strengths as well as her struggles and vulnerability with a complexity rarely achieved in literature.

*Gold Star Award Winner!