North of Beautiful
By: Justina Chen Headley
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 5 stars
Summary from Goodreads:
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?
I love this book. I try not to give many 5 stars because I feel like a book really has to be something awesome in order to get the best of the best and this book has it. The characters are believable and endearing. The story deals with heavier issues (borderline abusive parental relationships/physical deformities) in a real way. The port-wine stain that covers her face is the tool used to write a book that is truly based on family relationships in all of their complexity.
All of the characters are dynamic and most achieve significant growth throughout the novel. My favorite of these would be Terra's mother. She begins as a very overweight, submissive, spineless person. She refuses to stand up to her husband and seems unable to come out of the shadows. However in the story she has moments where she comes into her own and reclaims her identity.
I love this book, I haven't bought it yet but I will as soon as I have the cash (poor, starving college student remember) go and read it, it really is amazing.