Friday, July 9, 2010

North of Beautiful

North of Beautiful
by Justina Chen Headley
384 pages

A map says to you, “read me carefully, follow me closely, doubt me not... I am the earth in the palm of your hand. – Beryl Markham

Summary: Terra Cooper is use to being noticed and it’s not because she’s tall, blonde and has an enviable body. Rather, people can’t help but notice her flawed face, which contains a rather large bright red birthmark. She’s always secretly planned to leave her small town, her lukewarm friends and her emotionally abusive father, to find some place magnificent, some place where she will fit in. However, things get pushed off course when she gets into a collision with a handsome guy named Jacob and his mother. Jacob challenges Terra to see beyond the limitations she’s put on herself, and the plans she’s laid out. Together with both of their moms Terra and Jacob embark on a wild adventure that will teach them all a little bit about their capabilities and the wonders of love, friendship and family.

Review: North of Beautiful is beautifully written. At first glance the book’s length seems a little daunting, especially in light of the fact that it’s not an action or suspense based novel. However, I was glad for the length because it allowed for so much progression in the characters, resulting in an abundant story that comes full circle. I thought the characters were exquisitely written. Terra is complex and compelling, a perfect main character. However, I felt the novel’s depth and sincerity was highlighted more by the supporting characters. Terra’s mom was especially enticing to watch as she discovered her own strength. This story really is about what is beautiful; although it highlights that it’s not always what you expect. The mapping terms, art and geocaching elements were welcome additions to the story, adding both depth and relevancy.

You might enjoy North of Beautiful if you like books with: slower paced plots, a focus on character development, quirky elements added (like geocahing), a main character that grows and over comes, multiple settings (travel)

Also by Justina Chen Headley: Nothing But Truth (and a few white lies), Girl Overboard

If you liked North of Beautiful you might also enjoy: The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti, Paper Towns by John Green, This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Additional Info:
Official Geocaching Website – great place to start and to find out more

Non Fiction: Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities by Frank Jacobs and Geocaching for Dummies by Joel McNamara

Author Website:

Rating: W4/4 C4/4 P4/4 O4/4 PP2.5/4 CR3/4
Grade Level Interest: S


Becca Jane said...

This sounds like my kind of book. I have got to finally go back to the winnipeg public library and get myself a card so I can catch up on some of these books I've discovered on your lovely blog that I've been meaning to read for some time.

P.S. You really liked the short curly hair? I like my hair curly but I hated it short. I re-looked at the pic though and it ALMOST tempted me to cut my hair off again, but not quite.. haha.

Katie said...

I think you'll like this one Rebecca. Someone used it as their book talk in our Genre class.

You look good however you wear your hair : )

Ashley said...

So glad you liked it! I completely adore it. The language, the characters... everything! =)

Have you read 'The Sky is Everywhere' by Jandy Nelson? I found it a bit similar in tone, and the way that it's written so beautifully reminded me of NoB.

Katie said...

I have, it's sitting in my to be reviewed pile. You're right, there is a similar tone. I never noticed that before.

Rowena said...

I read and enjoyed this book as well. Fantastic review! I thought Jacob was a total cutie pie!

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