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North of Beautiful    by Justina Chen Headley order for
North of Beautiful
by Justina Chen Headley
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2009 (2009)

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* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Terra and her family have spent their lives under the thumb of her tyrannical father whose acid comments control their lives. When her brothers leave for college, they never come home. Terra intends to do the same.

She'll graduate early and go to college as far away as possible. After college, she'll become a successful business woman and travel the world. Her plan has just one flaw. Will she be able to leave her mother? As her dad's words cut like knives, Terra keeps watch in case his abuse becomes physical.

Terra meets Jacob and his mother literally by accident when Terra's car slides over black ice into theirs at a coffee shop. Jacob's mother is everything her mother is not an accomplished business woman and confident world traveler.

Terra's brother Merc, who is living in Shanghai, sends Terra and her mother tickets to visit. Jacob and his mother decide to join them. In China, Terra, who has spent her entire life trying to hide a port wine stain on her cheek, learns what true beauty really is. Away from the man whose every word criticizes, her mother slowly begins to take back her life.

Headley has written a heartwarming story about the power of words and their ability to abuse and destroy confidence.

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