Home » Book Reviews » Book Review: North of Beautiful by Justina Chen

Book Review: North of Beautiful by Justina Chen

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Short reaction: Has a lot of words of wisdom about life and accepting real beauty
Rating: 4 out of 5


As he continued to stare, I wanted to point to my cheek and remind him, But you were the one who wanted this, remember? You’re the one who asked-and I repeat-Why not fix your face?

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?

Written in lively, artful prose, award-winning author Justina Chen Headley has woven together a powerful novel about a fractured family, falling in love, travel, and the meaning of true beauty.

My Review

Also seen on Goodreads.

Beauty and being beautiful is such a big deal to most women especially since the adolescent period where there’s the peak of peer pressure, bullying, etc. and what made me read this is because since I can’t deny my interest in beauty and beauty products, sometimes I neglect the real beauty within myself which is what I should focus more and not only on the outside. This novel is a breath of fresh air with its unique concept of acceptance and discovering new kind of love that will conquer all:

Genetics might be our first map, imprinted within us from the moment the right sperm meets the right egg. But who knew that all those DNA particles are merely reference points in our future?

As simple as the lesson in this book was how Terra Cooper realized her real beauty beneath her cheek’s port-wine stain in the shape of Bhutan. It’s how she managed to cope her Dad’s impulsive and judgmental behavior and stood for herself, her helpless mother and her brothers. It’s how she finally accepted how beautiful her collages were in its own imperfect details from scratch and hidden treasures. It’s how she finally loved a guy she really was meant to love – a guy who saw beauty in her imperfections and not having to fix it.

This story also reminded me of Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant To Live where it’s when you finally found your happiness by following the right path of life, just as the North Star sitting in its spot waiting to be discovered. That if we just try to accept our impurities and in return see what our potentials are, then that’s where we will see the real beauty inside us that will burst on the outside, giving us the happiness we’ll not find in any shiny material or rocket science.

I liked that Terra might have started wondering how to fix her face but she then learned through stages to accept the fact that she should just let people stare, get used to it through the help of her mom, Lydia and Jacob. Terra’s indeed beautiful – she just thought over the years of trying to erase her birthmark it was her flaw but she’s wrong.

This also made me love Jacob. The fact that he didn’t even notice Terra’s birthmark right from the start and got attracted to her was what caught me. It’s not even his age that bothered him nor his cleft palate scar to adore Terra, her being control-freak and all but he accepted her and supported her to keep going despite her dad always pushing her down.

The ending was so brilliant I could even try geocaching for myself to find hidden treasures. Who knows? 🙂

I’m glad Terra finally found her north star and it’s finding happiness with Jacob – one she loves and loves her back for real.

Being lost was just another way of saying you were exploring

Heck let’s go to China! 😀

Support the Author by buying the book


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