ananka's Reviews > North of Beautiful

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen
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Nov 24, 09

bookshelves: abuse, body-image, friendship, local, teen
Read in November, 2009

Terra is 16, living with her mother and verbally abusive father. Her two brothers fled to the refuge of college and far away places after they graduated, leaving Terra to diffuse her father's verbal assaults against her mother and herself on her own. She sets high goals for herself in order to flee, including graduating high school a year early. On top of it all, Terra was born with a large port wine stain on her face that resists all attempts to remove it.

As she and her mother return to Collville from Seattle (yup, this is local) Terra hits a patch of black ice in Leavenworth, and hits the car of another family. Fate took a hand here, because this family is one that will will change their lives forever.

I really enjoyed the way that Justina Chen Headley dealt with the body image issues in this book, leading the main character from hating her own face, covering it with layers of makeup and overcompensating with physical perfection, to slowly coming to terms with the way she looks and finally deciding to be herself everywhere. She doesn't deny how hard it is to do that and you can almost feel the mental shift to courage that takes place.
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