North of Beautiful

Justina Chen Headley, Author . Little, Brown $16.99 (373p) ISBN 978-0-316-02505-8

Laced with metaphors about maps and treasure, Headley’s (Girl Overboard ) finely crafted novel traces a teen’s uncharted quest to find beauty. Two things block Terra’s happiness: a port-wine stain on her face and her verbally abusive father, a failed cartographer who views her as ugly and belittles the collages she creates. A car accident brings her together with Jacob, an Asian-born adoptee with unconventional ideas. Besides introducing her to new pursuits like geocaching, a treasure-hunting game using GPS, Jacob ends up traveling with her when they have an opportunity to visit China together with their mothers. The trip, far-reaching on many different levels, gives Terra a chance to rethink the past and re-map her goals. Taking readers to America’s Northwest, then to China and back again, the author confidently addresses very large, slippery questions about the meaning of art, travel, love and of course beauty. All of her characters hold secrets; finding them out will be as rewarding as Terra’s discoveries of caches. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/01/2008
Release date: 02/01/2009
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 373 pages - 978-0-316-02506-5
Open Ebook - 254 pages - 978-0-316-14388-2
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