Author: Scott Westerfeld
Published: Simon Pulse, 2005
Genre: Science Fiction
Overall Grade: A-
Tally Youngblood lives in a futuristic world where the city is divided into two: one half is where the Uglies live, people who are awkwardly built with crooked noses and eyes too close to each other. On the other side of the river live the Pretties, beautiful people whose only jobs are to have fun, go to parties, and be happy.
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and is more than excited: instead of getting her driver's license, she's about to undergo the operation that she's been anticipating all of her life--the operation that eventually transforms all Uglies into drop-dead gorgeous Pretties. But then Tally meets a girl named Shay, who doesn't want to become pretty, and they become close friends. On Tally's operation day, the government has discovered that Shay has run away, and they blackmail Tally: if she can find the mysterious town that Shay is hiding out in, miles and miles away, a place where people don't have to ever become pretty, then Tally will be turned into a Pretty. Otherwise, she'll have to face a lifetime of being ugly...But can Tally turn in her friend, especially when she learns the ugly truth about the pretty operation?
My thoughts: I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised by Uglies. When I first heard the plot, I have to admit I thought it sounded kind of stupid and maybe even a bit boring. A world where everyone's goal is to become beautiful? I thought. Come ON. But all in all, I really liked it, even though I don't normally read sci-fi. The plot was interesting and thought-provoking, definitely, which was perfect for me because I was reading this for an in-school lit circle group. I was blown away by how creative Westerfeld was in making this amazing world that may seem perfect on the outside, but is deadly on the inside: all the futuristic details like hovercars were fun, and I loved how Tally and her friends mocked how stupid our civilization is (or in the book's case, was). Tally was a great character: sarcastic and funny and brave.
On the outside, Uglies looks hefty at 425 pages, but for me, the middle to the end of the book flew. The plot moves quickly, and the action kept me glued to my seat, madly addicted to the plot. There were so many twists and turns that it might seem like the book will never end, but I was sucked into the actions and dialogue of the story so much that I didn't notice.
My one problem was that some of the descriptions of objects and actions were really confusing so that it was sometimes difficult to picture what was happening. I don't really know all of the parts of a hoverboard! (:
All in all, I highly recommend Uglies and I know I'll definitely be picking up the second book, Pretties, in the future--that cliff-hanger of an ending left me craving more!!!