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Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

>> Friday, December 18, 2009

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Genre: YA Fiction
Series: #1 in the Uglies series
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 425
Challenges: Support Your Local Library Challenge #54
Source: Library

I added this book to my TBR list after a conversation among book bloggers on Twitter. It sounded so interesting. Then I started seeing other bloggers reviews popping up and based on the many positive reviews I was reading I had to move it up the list and read it sooner rather than later. I’m very glad I did. This is the first in a series and I’m already looking forward to the next book.

Tally Youngblood is almost sixteen and she can hardly wait for her birthday. In the world Tally lives in at sixteen everyone gets to have the operation that turns them from an Ugly to a Pretty. Once Tally turns Pretty she can go live in New Pretty Town where her responsibility will be to have fun all the time. Her best friend turned Pretty a few months ago and Tally is lonely and counting the days until her birthday. Then Tally meets Shay, another girl who’s almost sixteen. But Shay isn’t looking forward to becoming Pretty. She’s thinking about running away and joining a group of people she’s heard of who live outside the cities and never have the operation to become Pretty. When Shay runs away Tally is put into a tough spot. She finds out that she won’t be allowed to become Pretty until she betrays her friend and tell the authorities where Shay has gone.

I thought the concept of this dystopian story was an interesting one. In Tally’s society, everyone is made to look the same to prevent anger, resentment and war due to the differences between people. As the story progresses it’s not any surprise to find a very disturbing undertone to what everyone is taught is a good thing. When Tally discovers what life is like outside the rules of society and begins to question what she has been taught is true is when the story really took off for me. The characters were interesting and I was really pulling for Tally to make the right choices despite her tendency to continually cover her tracks with lies.

I liked the world that Westerfeld imagined. It’s not so far out of the realm of possible futures to dismiss out of hand. The little bit of history of how society ended up where it is was enough to make it plausible without being a history lesson dropped into the middle of the book. That’s the piece that I felt was so lacking in The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

I’ve been reading a lot of Young Adult and Dystopian books recently. I’m finding them intriguing. I can thank the excellent group of book bloggers that I chat with on Twitter for all the recommendations. I definitely would not have read this one if I had missed out on the Twitter chat.

This was an interesting first in a series that I’ll be continuing.

4 stars Rating 4/5


Kris 12/18/2009 9:57 AM  

I thing I thought was that they are all made to look the same so that there isn't racism...and yet the girl on the cover is Caucasian. lol! I just thought it was interesting...can't remember if the book mentioned those in other cities being of different skin color or not, I seem to think the book mentioned that they had the same skin color.

farmlanebooks 12/18/2009 11:06 AM  

I'm pleased that you enjoyed this one as I've just got a copy from the library and plan to read it next week. It is a really interesting concept, so I hope that I enjoy it.

alisonwonderland 12/18/2009 9:14 PM  

I really liked Uglies. The social commentary was great!

Miri 12/18/2009 11:09 PM  

There was a famous Twilight Zone episode (60s TV) years ago where everyone was operated on to look the same...its usually thought of as the "pig face episdoe".

Framed 12/19/2009 10:48 AM  

I've bought the whole series based on my niece's recommendation and haven't read any yet. (sigh)

SuziQoregon 12/19/2009 7:54 PM  

Kris: Well, we all know that the covers don't necessarily reflect the story in the book. I don't remember if the standards were different in different cities. Wonder if that's addressed in the other books in the series?

FarmlaneBooks: Oh I'll be watching for your review - hope you like it. I thought the concept and his 'society' were quite interesting.

Alison: exactly - loved that and good stuff for YA's to consider.

Miri: I don't remember that episode, but will have to see if I can find it.

Framed: Oh read it soon. I think you'll find it interesting.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment. I read and respond them here although not always right away. If you would prefer an email response let me know.

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