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November 13, 2011

Review: North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley - Juhina

North of Beautiful

Title: North of Beautiful
Author: Justina Chen Headley
Publication date: February, 1, 2009
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary)
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 373
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?

Written in lively, artful prose, award-winning author Justina Chen Headley has woven together a powerful novel about a fractured family, falling in love, travel, and the meaning of true beauty.
Wow, this book truly blew me away, however that only happened in the later half of the book. I started reading this book almost ten months ago, however I was so frustrated with many of the characters that i stopped reading. Now i'm glad I picked it up again and decided to finish it. 
This story speaks to the millions of women who feel insecure about themselves, who feel that they are "never good enough" and only want to gain the superficial beauty the media has been feeding down our throats these days. All women seem to be lumped into one category: female only. It also speaks to the women who have been always put down by a supposed loved one, who have been verbally abused and made fun of and made to believe that they are nothing and never will be anything or achieve anything great. As you can see this story touched my heart in a way other books didn't. I am a huge feminist and coming from a region where they aren't big on women's rights, you might see how this book affected me. 
At first I was frustrated with Terra for never sticking up for herself and also for her mom for silently taking such verbal abuse and belittling from her supposed husband. It also frustrated me that Terra's two older brothers couldn't leave the house fast enough and were always on the sidelines watching, and never actually stopping their father, who has become more as a figure for everything they hated about their lives than an actual father. 
When Terra and her mom met Jacob and his mom, their journey for the acceptance they always wanted and the realization that this all comes within themselves began. Terra was the fighter between the two. Her mom always stood behind her, as if the roles were reversed. Through this journey, which brought them all the way to China, Terra came to realize the true meaning of beauty and her mom saw herself as a person that is worthy to be loved, and accepted for who she is.  
This book had me thinking so much, days after I finished it, I wished that I could become as strong as Terra was in the end. I wished that there is a way to reach out to women stuck in these situations, and for people to accept themselves and love themselves, because every single person is beautiful, you just need to look for the true beauty to see it. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to read a book with a deep message. However there is a romance element in this book but all I wanted to read about is the journey of these two women, and where it would take them. 
Rating: 5 - it's like music to my ears. A MUST read


  1. I must read this book soon. It's been sitting on my shelves forever...and a day! Great review :)

  2. It sounds like a great book. I think it would help with my insecures I have.Great review.I am have to check this one out.

  3. This was one of my favorite books last year. It was definitely frustrating to see Terra and her mom struggle. But it felt more real that way. Such a beautiful story.

  4. I haven't heard much about this one, but your review makes it sound really great! I'll definitely need to take a closer look at it soon. Thanks for sharing!

    Fictional Distraction

  5. I agree that this is a phenomenal book to have been written. So much about it speaks to so many of us.

  6. I heard about this book a few months back and have been wanting to read it ever since. I think it's very important for women to accept themselves and not rely on the perceptions of others to form estimations of their own self-worth. Excellent review! I look forward to reading it sometime soon:)

  7. This sounds like a very emotional read. Something that everyone should read. I must get my hands on this one soon. Another good addition to the contemporary genre.