<photo credit: Justina Chen Headley's myspace>
It's 12:00 EST which means my MitaliandMargie challenge book review is posted! Will have to check the time stamp on your post, Mitali, or you will be sending a leeeeeettle package my way…
Justina Chen Headley's NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL tells the story of Terra Cooper's struggle to define her identity in her last year of high school. Though Terra is a gifted collage artist, she can't get past the port wine birthmark that colors one side of her face to find the beauty in her own life. Neither her boyfriend or best friend or even her family seem to really know her. Enter Jacob, whose struggles with similar issues begin to shine light on Terra's…
NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL is a well-crafted, likeable story that, like a collage from Terra's own art show, brings together such disparate elements as a Chinese orphanage, geocaching, physical beauty, Starbucks, skincare, goth culture, cartography and Seattle. While at it's heart a compelling romance, NOB tackles the enormous issue of what we value as a family, a culture, and a community — and how we learn to value ourselves. Not a page of this book is superficial or cliche — which is important, in a book about being true to yourself — and every quirky, wonderful relationship turns upon its own specific terms, bringing its own small revelations, triumphs and heartbreaks.
Terra's journey to map her own identity takes her through so many issues we all face, particularly as women in American culture, that I suspect you will soon find yourself using the points of Terra's journey to map your own. I know I did. NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL, in that respect, is something more than just a story. Maybe something north of a story. Maybe something more like a compass, all its own.
Visit Mitali's blog, ALLEY OF BOOKS, to see her review of NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL here. Unless of course she did not post by Friday. In that event, feel free to taunt her on twitter
Visit Justina Chen Headley's website (but do not feel free to taunt her on twitter) here.