North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I didn't expect to like this book. In the first few chapters we're introduced to the main character who seems shallow, self-absorbed, over-achiever, I want to hate this girl. This girl is the surface. Then we meet the girl underneath all of the surface. The girl with the father who is always right, always bigger, always better and will cut down anyone who dares to be his equal. The girl who worries about an elderly friend falling and slipping. The girl who makes art but won't show anyone because it says too much about who she really is. The girl who has a boyfriend she doesn't particularly like because she's afraid no one else will love her.
This book really took me on a voyage about what beauty means, what it is to love and accept someone and that sometimes you have to dig through the past to find your future. Life changes, people change, nothing is constant.
The only thing that I didn't like was the ending. This book was a gentle peeling away of layers right up until the end, and then suddenly there was big dramatic "this is how you get your happy" ending. It was too much and I put the book down slightly dissatisfied.
Synopsis: 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?
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