It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper.
She's tall, blonde, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably "flawed" face. Terra secretly plans to leave her small, stifling town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father. When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob's path, the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and her life, and she is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid out plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?
For me, this book opened up an entire new world on a few different levels. I have known people with port stains but have never given much thought to what they might be feeling and this book definitely puts that into perspective. Throughout the book, Terra's insecurities are highlighted, not only in dealing with the general public but also her overbearing, egotistical, and just downright cruel father. I found myself wishing her father was real, someone who could feel my touch just so his face would be able to connect with my fist.
Justina Chen Headly not on encompasses the insecurities of a teenage girl living a difficult life, but also the lives of those around her. Yes, Terra was the main character, by all means, but in the end I found I knew just as much about her as I did her mother, her two obscure brothers, and the batty artists at the local studio. And to me, that is a real accomplishment for an author as many often forget just how important the back stories and feelings of secondary characters are to the development of the book as well as the primary character. Ms. Headly not only wrote about these people but painted a picture so vivid that it became hard to decipher in my mind if they were all just apart of a book and not people actually living in this world.
Prior to reading this book I had no idea what in the world geocaching was. Chances are some of you don't even know what it is. But I became intrigued by it and what it had done for not only Terra but her relationship with Jacob and later, her mother. What was this mysterious 'treasure hunt' that only required GPS coordinates, and is it really something I could do? Not only did I find that it does exist but I found myself quickly becoming involved with this new community, something I am grateful to Justina Chen Headly for.
Overall the book was extremely well written and Ms. Headly created something I think I will forever have on my shelf, considering it to be an ongoing favorite. The story she created, the world she managed to paint for me, is something I love revisiting whenever I can. If you haven't already picked up this book, I highly recommend you do so at your next visit to your bookstore. It is easily found with its beautiful, soft cover; it is also my recommendation that, if you are a true book lover who just loves to hold them in your hands and see the vibrant colors of the hardback beneath the sleeves as I do, then pick up the hardback.