Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Tally Youngblood is Ugly and all of her friends are Pretty.
Luckily for Tally, she just has a few more weeks until she gets to be Pretty as well. Where she lives, it is simply a matter of waiting until you are 16, then you receive surgery to become Pretty. At that point, you get to move to New Pretty Town, where you and all of the other ‘new’ Pretties get to party your lives away. Tally can’t wait to become Pretty and join her best friend Peris. Then she meets Shay, another Ugly who shares her birthday, but who is not planning on becoming Pretty when she turns 16. When Shay runs away to a settlement beyond the city where everyone is Ugly and invites Tally to come along with her, life gets very complicated for Tally. Does she want to be Pretty? How badly does she want it?
So I was interested to read “Uglies” since everyone seems to be talking about and enjoying it, but I was skeptical as well. First of all, I was skeptical of the hype. I mean, “Twilight” had a lot of hype and, though I thought it was engaging, I didn’t really think it was very good. Then, I started reading the book and got even more skeptical. I was sure this book was going to suck because “New Pretty Town” sounded like a ridiculous adolescent fantasy: everyone is gorgeous, it is implied they all fool around all the time with no consequences, and they love to party and drink. I mean come on, this author and book are clearly going to be infantile!
Then, all of the sudden, I realized I was halfway through the book. The back story about the disappearance of the ‘Rusties’ and the emergence of this new civilization was fascinating and the discussion of the implications of being Pretty was fantastic. Tally is a great character and I think the story was told well – and the adolescent fantasy thing stopped bothering me, because Westerfeld had a deeper plan for it. Unlike with “Twilight,” where I kept reading because I felt I had to, I’m going to continue reading this series because I want to.