Those happy tears you're hearing? That would be me crying in disbelief over the starred review that North of Beautiful just received from Kirkus. Kirkus, people! Kirkus! For peeps not in the publishing world, this is like the Holy Grail of book reviews.
"The daughter of a verbally abusive cartographer attempts to chart the rugged emotional terrain of her life. Stunning except for the port-wine stain birthmark on her cheek, Terra lives in the shadow of her father's petty sarcasm. She creates collaged maps and endures rigorous workouts to cope, but nothing makes her happy. Then she meets Jacob, a self-assured Asian Goth boy with a cleft lip who invites peoples' stares and doesn't care about Terra's birthmark. A chance to travel to China with Jacob and his adopted mother becomes an opportunity for Terra and her mother to define themselves outside of Dad's narrow parameters and gain the confidence to map their own futures. This emotionally satisfying novel is replete with themes about the true meaning of beauty, the destructive power of verbal abuse and the restorative ability of art. Mapping and cartography terms are expertly woven throughout the text, adding yet another level to an already complex and deeply felt read. Look out, Sarah Dessen. You may have met your match in Headley."
(And have I mentioned that I've idolized Sarah Dessen ever since I read her truly wonderful book, THIS LULLABY? There couldn't be higher praise as far as I'm concerned.)
Today I am grateful for...good reviews! Aaaaahhhh.