North of Beauttiful - Justina Chen Headley

ISBN: 978-0316025058
Publisher: Little, Brown and Co.
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 12+
Reader’s Annotation: Terra is forever marked by her port wine stain birth mark and laughed at by her domineering father. When she meets a boy who is also marked, he challenges her to find her own way in the world.
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Terra has a plan. Graduate high school (a year early), somehow pay for art school on the East Coast and get as far away from her dominating and cruel father as she can. Terra is marked by a port wine stain that covers one half of her face; a crusade for her weak mother and a point of ridicule for her father. After another unsuccessful attempt to remove the birthmark, Terra and her mother meet Jacob, an adopted Chinese goth boy and his mother. The four hit it off immediately, setting off a catalyst of changes that affect each person individually.
Evaluation: Throughout the novel Terra questions her place in the world through metaphors of map making, and she ventures to explore herself as she would an unknown world. Jacob is given the role of compass – always guiding her in the right direction and allowing her to make her own choices. A great book for teens looking for a plot like Sarah Dessen with the lyrical writing style of Markus Zusak.
Selection: This book was an accident, I picked it up thinking it was another title. What a great mistake. Possibly the best book I’ve read in 2009.