Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Book Jacket

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 am a huge Scott Westerfeld fan, and this is the series that won me over (Uglies is followed by Pretties, Specials, and Extras).  I love dystopian novels, and Westerfeld's future is incredibly believable and fully thought out.  Tally is an excellent protagonist--adventurous and caring, but deeply conflicted about whether she should put herself or her friends first.

This book takes our culture's obsession with beauty to its logical conclusion--a world in which everyone undergoes surgery to look as equally beautiful as everyone else.  Is individuality a price worth paying for a cohesive society?  Westerfeld isn't afraid to show the pros of the Pretty world as well as the cons, and this book (as well as its sequels) will definitely stay with you long after reading.  Entertaining and thought-provoking!

Five out of five brainwashings.

Release Date:  March 2005
Reading Level:  Grade 6+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection:  YPL WES

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