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NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL by Justina Chen Headley Kirkus Star

NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL

By Justina Chen Headley

Age Range: 13 & up

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-316-02505-8
Publisher: Little, Brown

The daughter of a verbally abusive cartographer attempts to chart the rugged emotional terrain of her life. Stunning except for the port-wine stain birthmark on her cheek, Terra lives in the shadow of her father’s petty sarcasm. She creates collaged maps and endures rigorous workouts to cope, but nothing makes her happy. Then she meets Jacob, a self-assured Asian Goth boy with a cleft lip who invites peoples’ stares and doesn’t care about Terra’s birthmark. A chance to travel to China with Jacob and his adopted mother becomes an opportunity for Terra and her mother to define themselves outside of Dad’s narrow parameters and gain the confidence to map their own futures. This emotionally satisfying novel is replete with themes about the true meaning of beauty, the destructive power of verbal abuse and the restorative ability of art. Mapping and cartography terms are expertly woven throughout the text, adding yet another level to an already complex and deeply felt read. Look out, Sarah Dessen. You may have met your match in Headley. (Fiction. 13 & up)