Joy! My editor, Alvina Ling, and her assistant editor, Connie Hsu, have been taking such good care of me. Awaiting at my door when my kiddos and I arrived home was an enormous box of books for them and a fantastic, perfect CD for me (Pink, SO WHAT!).
And then this morning, Alvina sent me news that North of Beautiful just got a starred review in Publishers Weekly! Thanks to Lisa Yee who emailed me immediately after...which was perfect happenstance since I had just opened a packet from Scholastic and there was the galley of her forthcoming ABSOLUTELY MAYBE. I was already screaming with delight as it was.
(PICTURE A BRIGHT RED STAR HERE. hee) North of Beautiful Justina Chen Headley. Little, Brown, $16.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-02505-8
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.)