|Author: Scott Westerfeld|
Series: Uglies Series
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: February 8, 2005
Genre: YA Dystopian
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"The flowers were so beautiful, so delicate and unthreatening, but they choked everything around them."
Tally is a 15 year-old greatly anticipating her up coming birthday, because this year she gets to have the surgery that will make her pretty. Her best friend has already had the surgery and moved to the pretty side of town, where they carelessly sleep all day and party all night. Then Tally meets a girl named Shay, who isn't sure she wants to be pretty. Shay takes Tally outside the city where she discovers there are others that are against the institutionalization of plastic surgery and the way the government seems to be keeping secrets from those inside the city walls. Tally is forced to question her entire existence and choose whether she wants the surgery to be pretty or remain herself as an ugly.
"What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful."
This book is so fantastic. I love how Tally grows throughout the novel. She starts out a follower just like everyone else, but her spunky personality allows her to be open to new ideas. She's intrigued by Shay's information that there is a community out in the wilderness that opposes the cities regulations. And when she finally meets those in the community, she begins to appreciate their point of view and starts to see herself for who she really is and what she has to offer the world; not what she looks like. I think it is so great how Westerfeld is able to capture one of the most plaguing detriments to our society, vanity, is such an interesting and unique way. I think it's really a powerful message for young adults when they are bombarded daily with images that are geared to make them think they aren't good enough and the only way to be happy is to look a certain way. It makes me happy that this book is being taught in schools these days.
The only problem I really had with the story was the lack of back story on how the world came to be. It's made clear that this is our world in the future, and some vague information on technology advancements is given. But no real story emerges about what exactly transpired to make the city the way it is and why it is so closed off to the rest of world. I am assuming that this information will appear in one of the sequel novels; Pretties, Specials, and Extras. And I can't wait to find out how Tally's story ends.
All in all, I really cannot recommend this book enough. I think it deserves to be in the middle school and high school literary cannon much the way The Giver, and The Hunger Games have been brought in. Any books that make the reader question the world and expands their point of view is alright in my book. 4.5 stars!
Series Order: Uglies, Pretties, Specials, Extras