North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
Publish Date: February 2009
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Little, Brown
As he continued to stare, I wanted to point to my cheek and remind him, But you were the one who wanted this, remember? You're the one who asked-and I repeat-Why not fix your face? 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?
Yay! I finally got a chance to read NOB! I'm so excited! I've been trying to get my hands on a copy for a month and I finally did.
The stories plot is based around the horrifying home life of Terra's family. Her father is verbally abusive, and treats his entire family like slaves. He spends his day manipulating his family members like puppets, leaving them voiceless and terrified.
As if Terra doesn't already have enough trouble at home, she spends her spare time trying to make up for having a port wine stain across her cheek. She spends two hours a day before school working out in hopes that her perfect body will keep eyes off of her stain.
The story reminded me very much of a Sarah Dessen novel. It started out with a girl who was broken. Then, she meets a boy who she comes to find out is broken as well. Just when she thinks she can't do it, the boy starts changing which gives her hope and they live happily ever after. That probably sounds cliche, but I love these type of books!
Right as I started to feel slightly bored, Jacob came along. I loved his character and everything he stood for. His carefree attitude is enviable and his ability to control his emotions is perfected. I love how his nationality has no affect on his fashion sense of attitude. His character breaks the mold of your typical adopted Chinese child.
The description of their trip to China was beautiful and realistic. I want to go!!! I love how the girls (Terra and her mother) finally came out of their shells. However I almost felt more captivated by the recovery of Jacob and his mother, even if their's was more subtle. Headley did an amazing job at expressing both duo's struggles and their recoveries together, even though their hardships were so opposite.
Though I felt the beginning of the story was a bit slow, the second half was beautiful. I wasn't bored for a minute. If you have a chance to read NOB, do it! 4/5
2 months ago