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anthrbookjunkie

anthrbookjunkie

North of Beautiful

North of Beautiful - Justina Chen There are so many things I enjoyed about this book. I guess I'll start with the cover. I think it depicts this book perfectly. Terra is blonde and beautiful, but is embarrassed by the right side of her face because of a huge port wine stain birthmark. Aside from it being perfect for the book, it's just...beautiful, and it's definitely something I would pick up in a book store.I can relate to Terra to a certain degree. I have a rather large port wine stain birthmark near the middle of my back. It's ugly, and it looks like a giant bruise. When I was a kid, it covered my entire back. The difference between mine and Terra's is, all I have to do to cover mine is put a shirt on. The only time it's ever been questioned was by the school nurse, who while checking my spine for signs of scoliosis, quickly assumed I had been abused. Still, though mine is covered, I find myself thinking "I'd like to have a tattoo down my spine..those are cute." And then I realize.....right, birthmark. Scratch that.Jacob. Oh, Jacob. Her (eventual) love interest is Asian, and I must say that is one thing I absolutely loved about this book! I don't feel like there is enough diversity in YA novels. There are very few authors that venture into other cultures, and it's always refreshing when one of them does. (Okay, and maybe I have a bit of an infatuation with certain Asian guys. coughJOHNCHOcough.) Oh, and he's extremely sweet, and the only person who has EVER understood Terra. Even her current boyfriend treats her body as a prize, but seems to see her face as a serious flaw. Jacob doesn't, and he definitely has his own little way of showing her that.Terra's father is a douche. Justina Chen Headley did a fantastic job of creating him, because I seriously cringed anytime he came into the picture. He is a miserable, miserable man who has every intention of making everyone around him miserable too. And boy is he successful. His douchebaggery is actually pretty subtle, which makes me applaud the author even more, because such subtle insults had me infuriated at times.I gave the book four stars instead of five, because there were times when I got bored. It goes from fantastic to too much narrative, and back again. Over and over. Some of the things in the book, I just didn't feel needed to be there.Terra's Mother takes a journey in the book as well, and hers is nearly as engaging as Terra's.In Terra's trip to China, she takes a beautiful detour to self-appreciation, finally realizing what True Beauty is, and falling in love along the way. This isn't one of your boring "love yourself for who you are" clich├ęs. Terra is a character all her own, as is her story.