Uglies~ Book Review
by Scott Westerfield
Read September/October 2009
ISBN 10~ 0 439 80611 9
Genre~ YA Fiction
“The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit.”
How can you beat that for an opening sentence?!? I laughed when I read it!
From the back cover:
Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that?
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. Not for her license–for turning pretty. In Tally’s world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.
But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to be pretty. She’d rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world–and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.
I’ve heard great reviews about this trilogy (Which I recently found out actually has a 4th book. To my knowledge it was planned as a trilogy.). I picked up all three off of Craigslist for $3. I have to tell you, I read the back and wasn’t sold. It sounded totally stupid to choose between having an operation to turn you pretty or betray your friend forever. I was wrong. It was so much more complicated than that.
Life for Tally is in a post-modern world where everything has changed. We are the “rusties” and children go and visit the “rusty ruins” on field trips. I thought that was great!. The world changed because of prejudices. People who were taller, prettier, with flattering figures got all of the jobs. They were held higher in society. So things began to change. Now in Tally’s world, at the age of 16, everyone has ‘the’ operation. They are made pretty. It’s a pretty horrific process involving drastic plastic surgery of the whole body. Everyone has the operation. If you don’t, you have no place in society.
When the Specials tell Tally that she can’t have the operation if she doesn’t help them find Shay, it isn’t such a simple, petty thing. They send her back to the dorms to live with all of the other Uglies. She can’t even go and live with her parents. She basically has to give up life to protect her friend. Hurting and affecting not only herself, but all of her friends and family. A hard choice for a 16-year-old to make.
I loved the imagination involved in creating Tally’s world.
I did have a hard time getting into the book. In fact, I set it aside to read L.J. Smith’s The Vampire Diaries~ The Awakening and The Struggle. It wasn’t bad in the beginning, I just didn’t get into it at first. It was slow-moving.
Once I got to the end of Part I, I was hooked. I’m glad I stuck it out. Tally’s point of view totally changes when she realizes more about the Smokies (the Uglies who have run away) and what really happens during the operation. She learns to love the Smokie way of life and finds herself feeling beautiful as an Ugly. It really is a dig at the social biases that effect our lives today and a ‘what if’ future if we continue life this way. For me, the book dragged a bit at the end as well. Overall though, it was a very well thought-out book and was enjoyable, once you get past the slow parts.
This book fulfills part of my 1st in a series Challenge at J.Kaye’s Book Blog. I have some catching up to do since I started way late! I am 2/12 right now. Yay me!
The rest of the series includes; Pretties, Specials, and Extras. Scott Westerfield also has a new book out which fits into the steampunk genre (I recently found out what that means! If you aren’t sure either, click on the word and you will be taken to celi.a’s page where she defines it!). The new book, Leviathan, is part of a planned series. I’ve heard some really great things about it.
I’ve got to get reading….I scheduled myself to also read Amanda Grange’s new novel, Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, by Monday! I’m a slow-reader this week!
For a great review by another blogger who was in love with this book, please check out LadyTink’s page The Movieholic and Bibliophile’s Blog