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 small, stifling 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?
Maybe getting around in life was nothing but map-reading. A skill that required practice. A key to unlock where you wanted to go. A leg-end to show you where you were.
This is one of those books you just have to read. Amazing, deep, moving, inspiring. It is different from the other books I usually read. Although it took me only a little while in the beginning to get into the story, it becomes way worth it in the end. I’m glad to have read this during the summer. Some people are self-conscious when it comes to wearing a swimsuit (I’m one of them). Reading North of Beautiful simply reminds me that it’s not the appearance that matters, but the true beauty that I display through actions. Like a gleeful smile.
Terra is going through difficult problems in her life. She receives comments and stares about her port-wine stain when every time goes out. Her dad is the Mad Dog in the house, using verbal abuse and control over his family. Her mom obeys him, almost as if without a choice, and eats away her feelings. Her brothers have already escaped, living their lives far away. Her boyfriend doesn’t pay attention to her in a way that seems like he doesn’t care. Through everything, Terra manages to cope. She is a likeable character. She can easily be related to, as she goes on a journey that may help her find herself.
I loved the relationship between Jacob and Terra. They instantly connect, their conversations and silences easy and comfortable. The friendship is obviously existent, but you can see much more.
One thing I was bothered about was Terra’s internal raving. I found myself skipping and skimming some paragraphs. I’m more into the action, the real dialogue.
Overall, however, North of Beautiful is full of meaning and metaphors about maps, quests, and journeys. After having read about Terra’s trip to China, her experiences and revelations, my eyes had really opened. There is so much happening in the world, many sights to see, plenty of places to visit. There’s still so much left in life. Wow, there’s a lot of things I learned just by reading this novel. I suggest you pick it up soon if you haven’t already.