Book Review: North of Beautiful


I don’t know how to begin. North of Beautiful is a stunning unique story of a girl learning to love herself. I think this book broke my heart. Not in a my boyfriend cheated on me way but a “this book is so true and beautiful that it hurts” kind of way. This is a book that I read over and over again because it never gets old.

Terra Cooper is not your average teenager. She’s graduating a year early with dreams of attending Williams, which her father does not approve of. That’s not the only thing that sets her apart. Terra was born with a port wine stain that covers part of her face. A chance encounter with Jacob knocks her off course and because of this she discovers herself.

Justina Chen Headley did an amazing job telling this story and I was engaged from the first page to the last. It flowed really well and the writing was very smooth. Terra Cooper was a girl I could get behind. She was strong and she was a fighter. You would think someone with a home life and situation like hers would have a woe is me mentality but that wasn’t the case. Sure she didn’t stand up to her dad right away but she didn’t let him break her spirit either. She kept right on dreaming and she had plans for when she made it out. You could see her growth from the beginning when she was ashamed of herself to the end when she felt pride. Proof of this is shown when she has a chance to go back to the way things were. Here’s a quote from the book: “and there shimmering between us, was a moment when one of us could have made a move. A step, a sorry, a let’s try again, and we could have slipped back into the past, into each other. I didn’t want that. And I didn’t need anyone-even this good guy of a jock-to assure me of my beauty. She was one of the most realistic characters in a book that I have read.

And Jacob. How do I begin with Jacob? Like Terra he had his own demons to conquer which made him a well-rounded character. He wasn’t a brooding bad boy and while I love my fair share of them but it wouldn’t have added anything to the book. Infact it would have taken away from the story making this an angsty teen romance instead of a unique journey of self discovery. Like Terra, Jacob seemed mature for his age, taking care of his brother, his mom and even Terra when he needed her too. They complimented each other in away that is notoften seen in young adult books.

I know this is a super vague review but I did not want to spoil anything. This book is a touching story of a girl who learned to find beauty in herself and stopped looking for it in everyone else. So if you want a book that will break your heart this is the one for you.

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