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Thursday, July 15, 2010

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

This book is a gift… wonderful and richly complex yet at the same time easy to read and identify with.  I suppose Shrek would use his “layered like an onion” analogy, but you get the idea…there’s a lot here.  For any reader who has ever been on the receiving end of verbal abuse, or struggled with their sense of self-worth, many situations in the book will tug hard on emotions, however the author uses such situations seamlessly showing the main character Terra and her mom coming to grips with the reality of their lives and how hard it can be to break free of the day to day.

I liked the use of maps and cartography terms to shape the storyline, and while many  teen readers I will recommend this book to in the library may not share my enthusiasm, the format won’t detract from their enjoyment of this amazing coming-of-age/romance story.  As I read through the book, I found myself sticking bits of scrap paper between a number of the pages so I could go back and re-read certain bits and lines because the author has such a knack for imparting “good stuff” within the storyline without appearing to do so. 

I marvel at main character Terra’s growth during the course of the book-- I think the quote by actress Ruby Dee sums it up best:

“The kind of beauty I want is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within--strength, courage, dignity.” 

My rating: 
M-m-m-m a very good read.
Category: Realistic fiction

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