Review: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

From Goodreads:
Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that? 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 had to sit on this one for a while. It wasn't as cut and dry for me as the Leviathan series (seriously some of the best young adult fiction I've read), but at the same time I wouldn't be opposed to recommending it to a friend.

The premise is intriguing and stands out against what I see as a lot of repeat themes coming out in dystopian lit. today. A lot of authors, especially newer ones, have been forgetting that for a society to be dystopian the people of that society play a part in the oppression. The people considered "uglies" in the book want this operation to become pretty because they've been taught from birth that they'll be inferior if they don't. No on brainwashed them, they did that to themselves.

Tally, the main character, is where this review starts to get a little negative. Basically, how the same author created her, description to follow, and Deryn Sharp (strong, quick-witted, loyal, brave, and one of my favorite characters ever) is beyond my comprehension.

I understand Tally's desire to become a pretty, and her repulsion of anything that implies different. That makes sense; she's spent her entire life in an environment that's taught her just this. What I don't get is how she's able to snap out of it so quickly. In a month's time she breaks away from everything she's ever been taught, everything she's ever believed, and is totally okay with that. That just doesn't happen.

After a certain point Tally's specialness became a bit grating. I mean, she's the first to make it to the smoke on her own? People never give gifts in the smoke, but she gets one after only a month? No one ever learns the truth about the operation, but oop, there she goes learning it after just a few weeks of being away?

And her romance with David was just bizarre, and definitely a bit forced. She loves him after about a month of knowing him, and that isn't even the creepy part. Towards the end of the book a trajedy happens to David and Tally becomes upset not once, but twice, for the time he's spending with his mother. She can't comprehend why she can't be by his side 24/7.

Still, the world-building more than makes up for Tally's odd sense of entitlement. Uglies has a very interesting society, and I'm looking forward for the next book to explore it more. Westerfeld also leaves us with quite a nice ending that segues perfectly into a sequel, one that I plan on picking up soon.

Amazon, Goodreads, Author's Website
Title: Uglies (Uglies series #1)
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication Date: February 8th, 2005
Page #: 425
ISBN: 0689865384

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