BEDITSHOA: North of Beautiful

In July, Anna received a fantastic blurb from novelist and Readergirlz diva Justina Chen. But I confess, it came with some guilt attached. I'd heard nothing but amazing things about her books, but . . . I hadn't read any of them yet! I felt ashamed that she read my book first.

I immediately went out and purchased North of Beautiful, her latest, which received *THREE* starred reviews! Here's the description:

It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper.

She's tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably "flawed" face. Terra secretly plans to leave her small, stifling town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father. When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob's path, the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and her life, and she is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?

Guys. This book was perfect. My kind of novel.

It's fun and romantic, with depth and themes and complications and darkness. The characters are many-faceted and real—they make mistakes!—and because of it, I cared deeply for them. And the story is PACKED with interesting things like mapmaking, geocaching, collaging, wish-making, and exploring.

I love novels with a genuine sense of place. This story was split between a tiny Northwestern town and China, and they were both richly drawn. I read the chapters set in China especially slowly, savoring the flavors and sights and sounds. It made me ache to see the skyline of Shanghai!

And Jacob, the "handsome but quirky Goth boy"?


So hot that I've switched from Team Edward to Team Jacob. Team Jacob the Goth. I don't want to spoil anything, but I know I'm reading a successful love story when I find myself cheering every time The Boy steps onto the page. Terra and Jacob's relationship was made up of tons of those delicious little moments that make the delicious big moments in the end that much better.

The novel is about the meaning of beauty, and appropriately, the prose is beautiful, the story is beautiful, and the romance is beautiful. I loved it. L-O-V-E-D loved it. I'm so excited to read Justina's first two novels Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies) and Girl Overboard.

I give this book my HIGHEST GLOWING RECOMMENDATION to fans of contemporary fiction, as well as to readers who enjoy romance and to anyone who loves a story that takes them around the world.

[Also, may I add how flattered I am that not only did my editor think to send my book to Justina, but that Justina actually liked it? When hers is the kind of novel that I wish I could write?? Thank you again to my editor Julie and Justina!]

[Also, may I add how thrilled I am that Blog Every Day in the Second Half of August is almost over? Daily bloggers, you have my endless respect and admiration. OMG, THIS IS HARD.]


  1. North of Beautiful is so good! And I loved Girl Overboard, too. It actually made me cry.

  2. I've read all three of Justina Chen's novels, and I didn't even know it. I read Girl Overboard about a year ago, thought it was amazing, but forgot what it was called, so I wasn't able to recommend it to anyone. Now I can! I loved North of Beautiful. The dad in this book made me sooo mad. Grrr, I wanted to punch him so many times. But I thought it was a beautiful story and I recommended it a lot after finding it at the library.

  3. This is a gorgeous book. Totally loved it. All of it.

  4. I've been meaning to pick this one up. Thanks for giving me another nudge. :)

  5. Sweet. I'm on a real contemporary binge at the moment. I just finished Audrey, Wait which I LOVED!

    I'll have to check this one out, too.

  6. Thanks for this post. I'm in a need of just such a read!

  7. AH i looooved North of Beautiful !

    I can't even articulate how good it is , nom.

    Also Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) was EXCELLENT . Although the boy was not-so-hot , there are lots of delicious boy moments ! and girl power ! hoorah !

  8. LOVE Justina Chen - I have all three books in every Media available and they are even better on the third or tenth read as the first time. I am hoping for a new Justina Chen novel!

  9. I have all her novels and can't wait for her next one! She's such a sweetheart and I'm glad to hear she blurbed your book. :)

    North of Beautiful is by far her best book yet. Each book of hers just keeps outshining the previous one and that's hard to do when every book is already amazing! Can't wait to hear your thoughts on her first two books.

  10. Wow, going to add this one to my "must-read" list. Great review.

    I have to agree with you about those daily bloggers. How the heck do they do it?

    PS - Thanks for the Let The Right One In recommendation. I'm compelled to see it now.

  11. Ack! Stop reading so fast! I can't keep up with the reccomendations.

  12. Here is Justina Chen's NEW blog address

  13. Such an amazing book. And yes, Jacob is totally hot :) I loved Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies), too!

  14. Justina is all kinds of amazing :) I too am Team Jacob the Goth :D

  15. Thank you, Stacy! I updated the links. :)