Sunday, February 8, 2015

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper. She is tall, blond, and has an enviable body, but she also has one major flaw. She was born with what they call a port-wine stain - a very large birthmark on her right cheek. Teased by other students and stared at by adults, Terra plans to leave her small town and escape her dysfunctional family as soon as she graduates from high school. An East Coast college and a renowned art school would do just fine.

An unexpected car collision with a wealthy family introduces Terra to Jacob, a handsome but quirky Goth boy. Jacob begins to challenge Terra on her feelings about herself and her life and through a series of events Terra is forced to confront the obstacles in her life. Jacob has issues of his own, but is the first person to open Terra's mind to what she can become and to help her love herself as she is. This book doesn't move quickly, nor is it an absolute page-turner like much of the dystopian fiction. However, if you have patience for the story to develop, you will find a powerful, moving novel about a troubled family, falling in love, persevering, and finding the true meaning of beauty.

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