North Of Beautiful


Terra Cooper has her life mapped out: get out of high school early, move away to college, and become an artist. She's in control. Then something in her world crashes - literally. She totals her car and, would you believe it, while she and her mom wait with the victims, relationships begin. Mrs. Fremont is professional, polished, and a world traveler. Terra's mom is obesely overweight and a homemaker, yet they become friends, each learning from the other. Jacob Freemont, too, is opening Terra's world to new ideas. It is scary - and exciting - the way Jacob sees past her heavy makeup (to hide a port wine stain) and her efforts to maintain control of everything. But will he see past her "forgetting" to tell him about her boyfriend?

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

There are strong lessons about beauty and love in this coming-of-age story of a high school girl.

Content Awareness Factors:

Terra's relationship with her boyfriend is sexual. There is nothing graphic in the descriptions, but some may not be comfortable with their teens reading about young sexual relationships.

Parent Reaction

I love this book. There were parts where I wanted to run down the hall and read passages to my 9-year-old; but then there were parts where I knew she wasn't ready for the next part of the story. This is a wonderful mother-daughter book and so much to talk about. Mr. Cooper is a pivotal character, but he is very difficult to take and there were times I was very uncomfortable.

Type of Book:
This is a young adult story with themes of family, love, growing up, and self discovery. This is an excellent high interest / low readability choice for high school students.
Educational Themes:

This is a wonderful selection for a mother-daughter book club, or just a book moms and daughters read together. Terra is an excellent narrator and you get a strong sense of family dynamics and relationships; friendship; and choices.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
12 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
11 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. Terra is a character that grows to be a friend. Self-conscious teens will see a strong shoulder in her.

Title North of Beautiful
Author Justina Chen Headley
Publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers © 2009
ISBN 9780316025058
Material Hard Cover
Cost $16.99
Genres Family, Coming of Age, Self Worth
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