Author: Scott Westerfeld
Series: Uglies #1
Published: February 08, 2005 by Simon Pulse
Length: 425 pages (paperback)
Tally Youngblood is almost 16. At age 16 “uglies” are given an operation that turns them into “pretties”, the physically perfect people across the river whose only responsibility is to party and have fun. When her childhood friend Peris turns 16 a few months before her, she is left in agonizing loneliness, envying the pretty lifestyle.
Then one day, Tally meets a girl named Shay. Shay doesn’t want to become pretty.They both enjoy pulling pranks and sneaking out, and Shay believes “doing what you’re supposed to do is always boring. I can’t imagine anything worse than being required to have fun.” (Scott Westerfeld, Uglies) She changes Tally’s whole idea of what being a pretty means. “We’re not freaks, Tally. We’re normal. We may not be gorgeous, but at least we’re not hyped-up Barbie dolls.” (Scott Westerfeld, Uglies) When Shay disappears, the government gives Tally a choice, to find her or never turn pretty.
Uglies is a fantastic read full of suspense, and adventure. It only gets better as it goes along, and I can’t wait to read Pretties.
The internal conflicts the characters face leave the reader guessing what will happen next and what choices the characters will make. The struggles with loyalty and conforming to the social and political norms give the characters an edge, as they fight to discover who they are, and who they want to be.
Uglies touches on a lot of great themes. The government in this book changes how everyone looks and acts in order to make them the same. “Perhaps the logical conclusion of everyone looking the same is everyone thinking the same.” (Scott Westerfeld, Uglies) From birth, everyone is told they are ugly, at least until the operation, so they think they are. The entire city is filled with an obsession with physical perfection. The “Pretty Committee” has cooked up a specific image they think everyone should have, and then when citizens turn 16 they get surgery in order to change themselves to fit that image. The dystopian concept was creative, and different. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and would give it 4/5 stars.
“What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful.” -Scott Westerfeld, Uglies
“Shay sometimes talked in a mysterious way, like she was quoting the lyrics of some band no one else listened to.” -Scott Westerfeld, Uglies
“Tally smiled. At least she was causing trouble to the end. ‘I’m Tally Youngblood,’ she said. ‘make me pretty.'” -Scott Westerfeld, Uglies
“It’s not the travelling that takes courage Tally. I’ve done much longer trips on my own. It’s leaving home.” -Scott Westerfeld, Uglies
“That’s how things were out here in the wild, she was learning. Dangerous or beautiful. Or both.” -Scott Westerfeld, Uglies
“She thought of the orchids spreading across the plains below, choking the life out of the other plants, out of the soil itself, selfish and unstoppable.” -Scott Westerfeld, Uglies