This is it. This is the book that is now going to set the bar for all other YA books this year. I fell in love with this beautifully written, spectacular new novel by Justina Chen Headley and can only ask that you trust me (and all the other raving blog reviews) and pick this one up. You will NOT regret it.
Terra has an absolutely gorgeous body, one her boyfriend Erik certainly appreciates. Unfortunately, what most people care about when they see Terra is the large port-wine stain that covers one half of her face. Desperate to fit in, Terra painstakingly covers the stain with thick makeup, hoping it will make her appear to be a normal, beautiful teen girl, but inside she just feels lost.
What the artist in Terra really wants to do is escape her small town, get as far away from her ultra-controlling, verbally abusive father. She gets into the first college of her choice, but her father insists he won't pay for it, as it was not on "his" list of colleges she was allowed to attend. Devastated, Terra doesn't know what to do, she doesn't want to be her timid, covered-up self any longer, but can't see an escape in sight.
When she meets Jacob, a Chinese Goth guy, after literally running into him, she knows he is about the last person she would have become friends with. Fate begins to play with her feelings though and she soon learns that Jacob really sees her for who she is. He doesn't care about her stain or her father's controlling ways, he only cares about Terra and what Terra wants.
On a once-in-a-lifetime trip to China with her timid mother and Jacob and his mother, Terra really finds herself. She begins to see herself for who she is and the world for what it's not. Traveling is not quite as scary as she initially thought and watching her mom blossom under Jacob's mom's watch is amazing. When she returns home, she knows that nothing will ever be the same. Not for her. Not for her and Erik or her and Jacob. And not for her parents.
I became so engrossed in this novel, it took me almost three days to read. I had to read every word, every syllable. I had to really get into Terra's head to know how she felt...and I loved every single minute of it. She is an amazing character, one that doesn't come along very often. So real and true to life, not really a character at all. You'll cry for Terra's mom and cheer for Jacob as he brings Terra out of her shell.
This is a must have. For you, for the the library, for your friends, for your kids. Whether you read YA or not, read this. Again, North of Beautiful has set the bar for all YA books this year, I was truly impressed.
To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.
North of Beautiful
Justina Chen Headley