Uglies (Uglies #1) by Scott Westerfeld
Published February 8th 2005 by Simon Pulse (first published January 1st 2005)
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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..
This book took my breath away. Literally.I loved learning about this world and the hate people received just for being “ugly”. It was such a cruel, cruel world. What I loved the most was the adventure. I was totally not expecting that! I love books where we get to follow the main character in an epic adventure, solving obstacles, learning new secrets. It was so much fun! A lot of the things were predictable to me though, but it was still pretty exciting. As for the world building,
Scott Westerfeld was very creative in writing this novel. It wasn’t much different than our world, other than the fact that they didn’t use anything that came from nature or made anything by hand, they didn’t have to work to earn money, and things were just given to them. I found it a little funny when they kept calling the Rustys (who are basically us right now) stupid. But they were right sometimes. I did find the names of the cities a little uncreative though – Uglyville, New Pretty Town. As for how believable the world was, I’d say I’m not completely sure whether our future would be like this. I mean, our world has overcome so much and to end up dividing humanity depending on who’s ugly or pretty doesn’t seem like something that would happen. But who knows? Maybe something will change and we’d have no choice.
The idea is that because everyone is the same, there is no basis for hate. But of course, as lovers of dystopian fiction know well, this ideal seldom works out as planned. On the verge of her surgical rite of passage, 15-year-old Tally meets a community of rebel citizens who persuade her that being pretty isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Tally’s dilemma over an order from the department of Special Circumstances to betray this rogue cell is absorbing, and the novel’s conclusion risky and refreshingly complex. I finished this book days ago and I’m still mulling over its implications for how we live now, and the fact that even noble liberal principles have a dark side. Highly recommended.