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The Compulsive Reader: North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

Monday, March 30, 2009

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley


Terra has lived her entire life under a scrutiny. A port-wine stain on her cheek ensures she is always stared at when she goes anywhere, and her father's impossible standards prompt her to live by his impossible expectations. She lives for the day when she can finally leave home and head off to college, but is wrestling with conflicting feelings of excitement to begin her new life away from her father, and guilt at leaving her mother to fend for herself. But when Terra and her mother meet Norah and Jacob, their whole perspective on life is changed around, and with one eye-opening trip to China, Terra and her mother will each discover the strength and confidence they need to see their own beauty and self-worth.


Justina Chen Headley's North of Beautiful embodies beauty. Her keen insights and smooth, seamless style are a complete joy to read. Headley combines Terra's artistic talent and her father's profession of cartography to help illustrate every experience that Terra undergoes and enforce how it has affected her as a person and formed her concepts of true beauty. There are many aspects in North of Beautiful that will tear your heart in two: Terra's father domineering and condescending attitude, her disjointed family, and her mother who has been worn down into a subservient shell of a person. But these aspects strengthen the story and emphasize the beauty and wonder of Terra's search for love, acceptance, beauty, and ultimately, herself. Readers will easily be able to forget Terra’s birthmark and identify with her on a very personal level as she struggles to overcome self-doubt and criticism. Headley has written a book that is challenging, heartbreaking, and completely memorable.

Cover Comments: I like the head shot on this cover--there are a lot of headless covers, so this is a noce change. It's very pretty and bright, and I think it conveys the emotions that are covered in the book nicely. I also like the light compass that is over the model's head--it's a nice touch, espceially since Headley incorporates so many allusions and references to cartography.

21 comments:

Iryna said...

This book sounds fascinating.

Did you know that the girl on the cover is also featured on "Evermore" by Alyson Noel?

The Compulsive Reader said...

Yes! I saw the PW article. I always suspected they were the same...it's very cool!

Insert Book Title Here said...

It sounds really good. Great review!

I love both Evermore and this cover. They are both pretty but in different ways...even tho it's the same model on both.

Carrie said...

Great review, I'll definitely have to check this one out. And very cool about the covers. I thought that girl looked familiar.

Emily Ruth said...

Just got this from the library because my friend loved it. I can't wait to read it!

Little Willow said...

Fantastic book! :)

campbele said...

This looks like a very interesting read.
I've not read many reviewers who take the time to include mention of the cover, but I'm glad you do as they are such an important part of drawing us into the story. This particular one has such an intimacy to it!

L E L said...

I loved this book! And that is so interesting that the same girl is on the "Evermore" cover as well. I didn't know that! :) Thanks for the awesome review!

BookChic said...

Great review! I absolutely loved this book.

And not only is the cover girl the same for this and Evermore, but she's also on Say the Word by Jeannine Garsee! She is just all over the place in February and March, lol.

The Compulsive Reader said...

I thought so, but I wasn't sure! That's pretty funny how three different publishing houses ended up using the same set of photos of one girl--did you see where Alea had found the original photos?

Karen H. said...

Great review. This sounds like something I'd like.

Michelle Zink said...

I've heard great things about this book, but now I know enough about it to KNOW I want to read it!

Thanks for the terrific review.
:D

Nora said...

Thanks for the great review!

Justina Chen Headley said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review my book. Your words are so kind--THANK you just doesn't even begin to cover how I'm feeling right now.

Anonymous said...

oh my gosh i just looked this up and you noticed too. i own the book evermore and i am on pg. 105. so far so good... and i was looking through a delias magazine and found a picture of North of Beautiful and said "oh my gosh that looks just like the cover of Evermore" and i looked it up and i was right.. i compared the two books and they were the same just flipped.

Anonymous said...

oh my gosh i just looked this up and you noticed too. i own the book evermore and i am on pg. 105. so far so good... and i was looking through a delias magazine and found a picture of North of Beautiful and said "oh my gosh that looks just like the cover of Evermore" and i looked it up and i was right.. i compared the two books and they were the same just flipped.

Anonymous said...

oh my gosh i just looked this up and you noticed too. i own the book evermore and i am on pg. 105. so far so good... and i was looking through a delias magazine and found a picture of North of Beautiful and said "oh my gosh that looks just like the cover of Evermore" and i looked it up and i was right.. i compared the two books and they were the same just flipped.

Anonymous said...

oh my gosh i just looked this up and you noticed too. i own the book evermore and i am on pg. 105. so far so good... and i was looking through a delias magazine and found a picture of North of Beautiful and said "oh my gosh that looks just like the cover of Evermore" and i looked it up and i was right.. i compared the two books and they were the same just flipped.

Anonymous said...

oh my gosh i just looked this up and you noticed too. i own the book evermore and i am on pg. 105. so far so good... and i was looking through a delias magazine and found a picture of North of Beautiful and said "oh my gosh that looks just like the cover of Evermore" and i looked it up and i was right.. i compared the two books and they were the same just flipped.

Anonymous said...

oh my gosh i just looked this up and you noticed too. i own the book evermore and i am on pg. 105. so far so good... and i was looking through a delias magazine and found a picture of North of Beautiful and said "oh my gosh that looks just like the cover of Evermore" and i looked it up and i was right.. i compared the two books and they were the same just flipped.

Anonymous said...

yeah... i noticed the covers too.

Selina Penaluna by
Jan Page
also shares the same cover....hmmm.... seems theres been some cover dubble-dipping :D