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|North of beautiful|
Author: Headley, Justina Chen
Terra, a sensitive, artistic high school senior born with a facial port-wine stain, struggles with issues of inner and outer beauty with the help of her Goth classmate Jacob.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 5.90
Points: 17.0 Quiz: 128170
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 24.0 Quiz: 46192
Common Core Standards
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → CCR College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Booklist (+) (02/15/09)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/15/2009 *Starred Review* Sixteen-year-old Terra seems to be a typical high-achieving high-school student. Under her heavy makeup, though, she hides a port-wine colored birthmark on her cheek that makes her feel like an outsider. During yet another attempt to remove the birthmark, Terra runs into Jacob, a gorgeous Goth with a cleft-palette scar. That encounter initiates a transformation in both Terra and her subservient mother. Headley has written an exquisite book that explores the difference between physical and true beauty as Terra and her mother travel from Washington state to China, and from the home of a shame-faced, cruel cartographer into the presence of an adventurous, strong woman and her insightful teenage son. Headley uses map metaphors throughout, even in the activity, geocaching, which helps bond Terra and Jacob in both Washington and China. She also uses Terra’s artistic medium, collage, as a literary device to create layer upon layer of experiences and insights into a artfully written journey of self-discovery, self-actualization, and love. With every carefully chosen word, well-crafted sentence, and fully developed character, Headley maps out a wholly satisfying reading experience that takes readers from terra nullis to terra firma. - Copyright 2009 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2009 Terra, influenced by her cartographer father to see life in terms of maps, considers her destiny to be mapped on her face: it’s partially masked with an ineradicable port-wine stain, which she’s spent her life covering up and compensating for. Her relentlessly bullying father has been a major engine behind her approach to her face, too, so she’s planning an early graduation and college attendance across the country in New England in order to escape him. She gets a different perspective when she meets Jacob, a guy who’s had his own identity and appearance issues (he’s an adoptee from China, and he’s had a cleft palate surgically repaired); soon not only are Jacob and Terra falling into a strangely intense friendship, Jacob’s and Terra’s mothers are bonding as well, and when Terra’s older brother invites Terra and her mother-not her father-to China, the four travel together on a life-changing journey. Map-centered though the book may be, it’s inclined to lose direction under the multiplicity of themes, and the pace is stately indeed; there’s also some unintentional irony in the book’s repeated taste for judgmentality so long as the judgment opposes that of Terra’s father (Jacob, for instance, needles Terra relentlessly about her nature, a practice that the book despises in Terra’s father but seems to consider welcome in Jacob, since he’s pushing her in a different direction). Amid those misdirections, however, is a tender story about a girl beginning to see that she is her own way out. Headley offers a particularly nuanced picture of Terra’s mother, a woman who has chosen passivity as the way to deal with her undermining and threatening husband and who has therefore covertly required her children to stand in her adult stead within the family, but who discovers it’s never too late to blossom, to stand on her own rights, and to parent her children more effectively thereby. Patient readers will therefore find emotional food for thought here, and they’ll be inspired by Terra’s mapping of her own life journey. DS - Copyright 2009 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.