Review: North of Beautiful

I couldn’t believe it when I realized no one had posted a review on this book…

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

Summary: Terra would be beautiful if she didn’t have that port wine stain across half her face. She knows it; everyone tells her so. It’s why she has to have a perfect body, why she’s lucky to be with shallow boyfriend Erik, and part of the reason her jerk Dad is able to cut her down every single day. But one icy drive and a gothic Chinese stranger later, Terra’s life takes a new direction.

Review: If you’re anything like me (a fantasy geek), you’ll take one look at the cover of a girl’s face with her blond hair cascading down over half of it, and think… pretty, but no thanks.

And if you’re anything like me you’ll have a best friend who loves books like this, and tells you time and time again to read it.

And if you’re like me, you’ll say ‘Okay, sure.’ and put it on your shelf under books about faeries and talking animals and ghosts and stuff. Because it’s big. And it has a cascade of blond hair across the front.

And then if you’re like me, your friend sees that the book is on the bottom of the pile and says, ‘Really! It’s so much more than that blond cascade of hair down the front! Just try it!’

And if you’re like me, you finally sigh and put down your other books and open it to please her.

So did I close it after the first 10 pages, and say ‘No thanks, chick flick?’

NO! …North of Beautiful was actually really good. The writing was enough to draw me and and eek out a couple of “that’s so pretty” sighs. There was a perfect amount of tension and dialog between Terra and her family. Headley intertwines the theme of maps and compasses with surprising ease and creativity. And then there’s the characters that are spontaneous and sweet and fun and adorable and…okay, hot. And the surprise trip out of the country? Yay for scene changes that work!

Really, this book feels. I felt everything from Terra’s mother’s struggle with her weight to the awkward changed relationship with Terra and her brother.  Despite its apparent length, North of Beautiful is actually a breeze to read through, which really surprised me. I should warn you, though, that the first chapter does stink a bit of a chick flick. But don’t worry; it passes. It’s chock full of scenes and struggles that are original, yet not so unique that they’re unbelievable. Terra is a lovely protagonist that I don’t mind spending a couple hundred pages with. Her voice is clear and her problem an actual one that I could sympathize with.

But I don’t think I’m conveying very well how much I loved this book.


Did that work for you?

Click here to request this book from your nearest Wake County Library.


2 Responses to Review: North of Beautiful

  1. It worked for me. I was intrigued enough by your review to look the book up and read about the plot. The Goth Chinese boy with the cleft lip sold me, and I went to my local library web site and put it on hold immediately.

  2. kay15 says:

    I really wanna check tht book out it sounds cool

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