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jackifulwood

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Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa
Benjamin Constable
The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two
Catherynne M. Valente, Ana Juan
Joshua Dread: The Nameless Hero
Lee Bacon
North of Beautiful - Justina Chen Summary: Terra has an enormous birthmark on her face that causes her to wear a lot of makeup and worry that she isn't pretty. Actually, her d-bag father makes her worry that she isn't pretty, or smart, or worth anything as he terrorizes and controls the entire family. When she almost runs over Jacob the Goth boy, the two start a friendship that begins to change the way Terra sees herself.

Verdict: Oh, puh-leeze.

Positive: The writing was pretty decent, and I liked the extended cartography metaphor.

Negative: I only made it a little past the halfway point with this book. I picked it up because I thought it was about the heroine's struggle to live with a large facial port-wine birthmark. Actually, while she does occasionally bring up the birth mark, her chronic low self-esteem is from her emotionally abusive father, and that is really the focus of this book. It's not about inner beauty or medical difficulties, it's about family drama. Her father belittles the heroine, her brother, and their mother constantly and makes the heroine doubt herself. He's incredibly dismissive of her artistic talents and aspirations.

I felt like this book was a bait and switch, purporting to be about one thing, but actually focusing on something else entirely. I'm so tired of reading about artistically gifted teens whose parents just don't get it. Someone please get a new plotline! Maybe the heroine is a gifted athlete and her parents don't care. Maybe she could win the Nobel prize and her parents belittle her. Surprise me! Alas.

I have no idea how the book ends, but I would guess that she: gets a gallery show, dumps her loser boyfriend for the Goth guy, stands up to her dad, and doesn't get her face fixed but realizes she's beautiful on the inside anyway. At least, that is how it ends in my head, the only place I'm bothering to finish it. This baby is going right back to the library.