Terra is tall and blonde, with an unbelievably gorgeous body, but what most people in her stifling Washington town notice is the port-wine birthmark covering half her face. Terra secretly plans to leave her small town by escaping to an East Coast college, but is pushed off-course by her controlling father. When she meets handsome, goth Jacob who immediately understands her battle with feeling different, Terra is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?
Written in lively, artful prose, this is a powerful novel about a fractured family, falling in love, travel, and the true meaning of beauty.
Laced with metaphors about maps and treasure, Headley's (Girl Overboard) finely crafted novel traces a teen's uncharted quest to find beauty. Two things block Terra's happiness: a port-wine stain on her face and her verbally abusive father, a failed cartographer who views her as ugly and belittles the collages she creates. A car accident brings her together with Jacob, an Asian-born adoptee with unconventional ideas. Besides introducing her to new pursuits like geocaching, a treasure-hunting game using GPS, Jacob ends up traveling with her when they have an opportunity to visit China together with their mothers. The trip, far-reaching on many different levels, gives Terra a chance to rethink the past and re-map her goals. Taking readers to America's Northwest, then to China and back again, the author confidently addresses very large, slippery questions about the meaning of art, travel, love and of course beauty. All of her characters hold secrets; finding them out will be as rewarding as Terra's discoveries of caches. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)
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Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
January 31, 2009
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