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Author: Justina Chen Headley

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Publisher: Little, Brown and Company,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Terra Cooper has her life mapped out: get out of high school early, move away to college, and become an artist. She's in control. Then something in her world crashes - literally. She totals her car and, would you believe it, while she and her mom wait with the victims, relationships begin. Mrs. Fremont is professional, polished, and a world traveler. Terra's mom is obesely overweight and a homemaker, yet they become friends, each learning from the other. Jacob Freemont, too, is opening Terra's world to new ideas. It is scary - and exciting - the way Jacob sees past her heavy makeup (to hide a port wine stain) and her efforts to maintain control of everything. But will he see past her "forgetting" to tell him about her boyfriend? This is a young adult story with themes of family, love, growing up, and self discovery. This is an excellent high interest / low readability choice for high school students.

Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 10 to 12; read yourself: 12 and up

Interest Level: 10 and up

Reading Level: 5.9

Young Reader Reaction: Teen review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: I love this book. There were parts where I wanted to run down the hall and read passages to my 9-year-old; but then there were parts where I knew she wasn't ready for the next part of the story. This is a wonderful mother-daughter book and so much to talk about. Mr. Cooper is a pivotal character, but he is very difficult to take and there were times I was very uncomfortable.

Pros: There are strong lessons about beauty and love in this coming-of-age story of a high school girl.

Cons: Terra's relationship with her boyfriend is sexual. There is nothing graphic in the descriptions, but some may not be comfortable with their teens reading about young sexual relationships.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. Terra is a character that grows to be a friend. Self-conscious teens will see a strong shoulder in her.


Educational Themes: This is a wonderful selection for a mother-daughter book club, or just a book moms and daughters read together. Terra is an excellent narrator and you get a strong sense of family dynamics and relationships; friendship; and choices.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - family, young adult, coming of age, self worth

Date(s) Reviewed: May 2011

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