Title: North of Beautiful
Author: Justina Chen Headley
Published: Little Brown Books, 2009
The one thing that crawled under my skin when I read this book was Terra's father. He was just a terrible person. (On my list of Horrible Characters, I'd place him in the ranks of Lord Voldemort and President Snow. Yeah, that awful.) He belittled his wife's weight and Terra's birthmark, ordered them around like servants, and carried around an air of superiority and self-righteousness. His emotional and psychological abuse was just as terrible as if he'd hit them. Terra is conflicted about her desires to leave for a college as far away from her father as possible yet not wanting to abandon her mother with him. I was hoping the entire book that Terra's mother would stand up to him and put him in his place (yet I didn't feel we got enough closure with their relationship at the end of the book).
Worst-Dad-Ever aside, I really loved the story. It's got a great message of acceptance with a wonderfully strong heroine and a great assortment of supporting characters, from the quirky old ladies Terra works to her droll older brother. On a related note, am I the only one that has seen that cover model EVERYWHERE? She pops up on a ton of different YA covers!