Adrienne's Reviews > Uglies

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
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's review
Jan 19, 2010

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bookshelves: science-fiction, book-count-2010
Read in January, 2010

As I looked around for books to read for the 2010 Book Count, I kept seeing Scott Westerfeld's Uglies trilogy. It was on the Internet, it was in bookstores, it was in the book review magazine, and finally, it was on my library's shelf, newly ordered by one of my colleagues. When I read the back cover of book one (Uglies), I became even more interested, and for the most part, Uglies did not disappoint.

Tally Youngblood is about to turn 16 and she can't wait. When you turn 16, you get the Operation and you become Pretty. Pretties don't have to go to school or have jobs; they party all the time. Besides, Tally's best friend Peris is pretty now - his birthday being several months before Tally's - and she just wants to join him among the sparkling lights of New Pretty Town. But then Tally meets Shay. As the two girls become friends, Tally begins to wonder if becoming Pretty is all it's cracked up to be. When Shay disappears, Tally finds herself in a very uncomfortable position and at the beginning of an even bigger mystery than she ever imagined.

Westerfeld's future (a cleverly disguised dystopia) is very interesting and detailed. Tally is a likeable, realistic protagonist, and her story never really bogs down. Except for when Westerfeld throws in what I think of as the Unnecessary Preachy Bits. Several times, Tally and her friends discuss history (that is, our time) and they have nothing but contempt for our world. While some of Tally's (and thereby Westerfeld's) criticisms are accurate - ie, prejudice against people based on physical appearance - most of it comes across as being supremely arrogant, along with doing nothing to enhance the story. Many recent dystopian fictions that I've read seem to fall into this trap of preaching at me instead of telling me an interesting story and letting me think for myself. I much prefer the latter style, obviously.

Aside from this criticism, the book was pretty good (no pun intended) and the very large cliff-hanger at the end made me want to start right in on the sequel.

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