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Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

North of Beautiful - Justina Chen Wow, this book truly blew me away, however that only happened in the later half of the book. I started reading this book way back in January, however I was so frustrated with many of the characters that i stopped reading. Now i'm glad I picked it up for my readathon and finished it.

This story speaks to the millions of women who feel insecure about themselves, who feel that they are "never good enough" and only want to gain the superficial beauty the media has been feeding down our throats these days. It also speaks to the women who have been always put down by a supposed loved one, who have been verbally abused and made fun of and made to believe that they are nothing and never will be anything or achieve anything great. As you can see this story touched my heart in a way other books didn't. I am a huge feminist and coming from a region where they aren't big on women's rights, you might see how this book affected me.
At first I was frustrated with Terra for never sticking up for herself and also for her mom for silently taking such verbal abuse and belittling from her supposed husband. It also frustrated me that Terra's two older brothers couldn't leave the house fast enough and were always on the sidelines watching, and never actually stopping their father, who has become more as a figure for everything they hated about their lives than an actual father.

When Terra and her mom met Jacob and his mom, their journey for the acceptance they always wanted and the realization that this all comes within themselves began. Terra was the fighter between the two. Her mom always stood behind her, as if the roles were reversed. Through this journey, which brought them all the way to China, Terra came to realize the true meaning of beauty and her mom saw herself as a person that is worthy to be loved, and accepted for who she is.

This book had me thinking so much, days after I finished it, I wished that I could become as strong as Terra was in the end. I wished that there is a way to reach out to women stuck in these situations, and for people to accept themselves and love themselves, because every single person is beautiful, you just need to look for the true beauty to see it. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to read a book with a deep message. However there is a romance element in this book, and while i crave for those in books in general, all i wanted to read about here is the journey of these two women, and where it would take them.