Sunday, December 23, 2007

UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld

I'm WAY behind on book reviews. So, I'm vowing to post a review as soon as I finish each book. Hopefully this will at least prevent me from falling further behind. (g) Somehow I'm doubtful. But I'm pretty excited to discuss this book and wanted to get right to it.

UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld
Young Adult Fantasy

Brief Synopsis: In the future (not sure how far), those in power have decided that all of the world's problems stem from a basic inequality of physical attractiveness. After all, there are those who are pretty, those who are ugly...fat/thin...short/tall... and if we all looked the same, this would alleviate a lot of the everyday arguments and attempts to one up each other. In essence, life would be bliss.

This is the world Tally Youngblood is born into. Her entire life, she's been taught to hate her looks and status as an Ugly. Her soul focus rests on her sixteenth birthday when at last she will undergo the surgery that will make her Pretty. Her best friend, Peris, has become Pretty, and now she must wait three months for her turn. Only then will she be able to escape her life in Uglyville and go to live in New Pretty Town, where life is full of fun, laughter, and constant parties.

As she waits impatiently for her birthday to arrive, she meets Shay, a fellow Ugly who, horror upon horrors, doesn't want to become Pretty. Shay tries to convince Tally to give up the life and come live with her out in the "wilderness" where Uglies are happy to be who they are, away from the overreaching hands of the Specials (those in charge).

Now Tally must decide. Does she go with Shay into an unknown future or does she stay to become Pretty? In the end, the choice may not be hers to make.



I think this book is fantastic. I know the idea isn't the most original in the world, but this is simply a case of an author taking it and making it his own in a fresh and exciting way. The thing I loved most about it is that I bought into this world right from the get-go, without having to hash through a bunch of backstory. It's a great example of an author just letting you go on the ride without holding your hand every step of the way, or feeling the need to explain every little thing in great detail in order to make sure you "get it?"

The pacing was wonderful--kept me turning the pages. Even kept me THINKING about the book while I was away from it... There were actually times I became annoyed by interruptions. Don't they KNOW Tally's in trouble and I MUST see how she gets out of it?? LOL.

Tally is a wonderful character. What I really liked about her is that she REALLY buys into the rules of her world. You're're ugly...and your one goal in life is to become Pretty. That is the only thing that matters. That is the only thing she wants. To see that first wellspring of doubt appear in her mind was exciting for me as a reader...YES... You're okay as you are... you don't have to be Pretty!

Not to get too deep, but this book had a lot of social commentary about our society today. It was totally intriguing to have the characters reference things that we take for granted today... The funniest/saddest being when they looked at a fashion magazine (an ancient document that the Rusties (us) left behind when their world was destroyed.) It was horrifying for Tally because everyone was UGLY...and that includes the supermodels who were much too skinny to be Pretty. Plus, why would Uglies celebrate their...ugliness??

Anyway, this book is a great example of how, if you're raised to look at things a certain way, it will take a lot to change your perception--if it can be, that is.

Finally, I want to issue a warning: If you start this book and find you _really_ like it in the first hundred pages or so, go out and get the second. Trust me. You'll want it when you finish. (g) Thankfully, I did just that...and now can start PRETTIES. Yay. :)

Rent or Buy? BUY.

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