North of Beautiful
by Justina Chen Headley
Summary: Terra is beautiful - blonde, thin, fit - perfect in every way except ..... for a large, wine-colored birthmark on her face. Instead of accepting her uniqueness, her father constantly belittles her and makes her feel ugly and flawed. After undergoing yet another procedure to remove the mark, Terra meets Jacob. He is a handsome, confident Goth guy (not her type at all!) whom she is drawn to immediately. Jacob has a cleft lip, but, unlike Terra, he doesn't care if people stare at his flaw. He challenges Terra to think differently about herself and her thoughts of beauty and perfection.
Thoughts: North of Beautiful is a lovely, emotional novel. I loved the use of map metaphors (from Terra's father's profession) throughout the story. Also, I felt the entire novel worked as a collage, similar to Terra's art; the author created layers of thoughts, feelings, and experiences that came together into a beautiful piece of writing. The characters are realistic; they felt like friends I hated to leave at the end of the story!
Trivia: The girl pictured on the cover is on two other young adult novels. Can you find the other two in the library or bookstore?