Okay, I attempted to edit my HTML especially for this post...so man, you should feel reallllly special right now. (g) Kidding. But seriously, for some lame reason the "read more" option is appearing on EVERY post when I thought it would be on just the ones I designated that way. So...that's a problem I'm incapable of handling. Hopefully I can figure it out...but for now, ignore them all unless I say specifically to READ MORE. :)
THIS is one of those cases -- but only read more if you want to. It contains major spoilers from Book 1 of this series, reviewed here: UGLIES, and I wouldn't want to ruin anyone's enjoyment of that book, nor the beginning of book 2. So, onward.
PRETTIES by Scott Westerfeld
Young Adult Fantasy
Brief Synopsis: When we last left her, Tally Youngblood had surrendered herself to the Specials in order to be the test subject of an experimental drug that will hopefully cure the brain lesions that make people "think Pretty." We pick up a month later. Tally has become Pretty at last and is leading her life in New Pretty Town--where life is a whirlwind of parties and drinking, and happy acceptance of the world around them.
Although Tally has fleeting "feelings" that she's forgetting something, she doesn't remember her time back at The Smoke, nor does she remember David. That is until one night a Smokie sneaks into a party she's attending and leaves behind a special note--the letter she wrote to herself, along with the cure she had set out to test. With the assistance of a fellow Pretty, Zane, she fights to come out of the Pretty haze long enough to figure things out. When she does, they both take the cure meant for one person--not knowing whether it will work or kill them. It doesn't kill them, but doesn't cure them outright either.
Afterward, Zane and Tally set out to recruit other Pretties, including Shay and Perris--embarking on numerous tricks in order to be "bubbly." It seems huge rushes of adrenaline help clear Pretties' thoughts. Their main objective is to escape New Pretty Town and get back to the Rusty Ruins, where hopefully David and the rest of the Smokies will be headquartered. The only problem is that the Specials have become suspicious and are watching Tally and Zane very closely, doing everything they can to contain and control the pair. And, it's questionable whether or not they can trust everyone within their group. After all, the Specials have planted spies before...
This book, I have to admit right up front, got on my nerves in the opening chapters -- everything was either "bubbly" "bogus" or "SOMETHING-making" -- dizzy-making, headache-making, etc. Their lingo alone was like nails on a chalkboard. But, on a lot of levels this is a good thing. Tally is completely surrounded by the "Pretty haze" as I'm calling it...and well, she thinks and acts like a Pretty. Which of course is sort of innately annoying. (g) But she can't help it and I have to commend Westerfeld for doing a good job of maintaining her Prettiness -- even if I wanted to smack Tally around and throw the book at the wall. I just really wanted her to snap out of it, which is also another point in Westerfeld's favor. If I didn't already care about Tally, I wouldn't want her to become normal again. And I guess it was my hope/belief that her fog would eventually lift that kept me reading.
Once again, the world sucked me right in. He revealed a lot more of it in this book, and it was interesting to see other facets of the world that the Specials created. Being inside a Pretty's head really gave light to what the Smokies were fighting for.
Tally and Zane do develop a nice little relationship -- very sweet and endearing. The only problem is that I kept wondering why Tally didn't give more thought to David. Even after she started to pull away from her Pretty haze, she didn't really give him more than a fleeting thought here and there... and well, yeah, I didn't get that. I thought her motivations for getting out of New Pretty Town would really be more about getting back to him, when in actuality, he wasn't much of a factor at all. To be honest, that bothered me quite a bit.
Shay -- wow, Westerfeld took her in an interesting direction. I won't say more as not to spoil it. Perris, too, took an interesting route.
One thing I want to say about Westerfeld--it makes me laugh everytime.
That's his ability to plant little seeds in your head that get you thinking about how Tally can get herself out of a fix. I won't give away specifics, but when she runs up against an obstacle, my brain starts churning, and I start thinking, "Use the XXXX!! That'll work!!" The funny thing being that the characters always DO try to follow my directions and they never work. ROFL. That's happened at least three times now over the course of the two books. I suppose it's his way of letting the reader feel like they're actively participating. (g) Very amusing.
All in all, I have to say I didn't enjoy it as much as the first. I think that's because of the lingo and general air-headed comments made throughout. Plus there were times I just didn't like Tally's choices. However, true to the first book, Westerfeld left this one on a serious cliffhanger that makes me want to run out and buy the third. And oh, I will. (g)
Buy or Rent? BUY.
P.S. I've vowed I will NOT buy the third book until I've written 2500 words. I guess I better get started. (g)