Tag Archives: young adult

Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld

8 May

When I found Scott Westerfeld’s novel Uglies at a used book sale, I jumped at the chance to finally start this series.  I don’t intentionally seek out Young Adult novels, but I love how engrossing they can be, and they’re often such fast reads.

Uglies book cover

“But it’s a trick, Tally.  You’ve only seen pretty faces your whole life.  Your parents, your teachers, everyone over sixteen.  But you weren’t born expecting that kind of beauty in everyone, all the time.  You just got programmed into thinking anything else is ugly.”

“It’s not programming, it’s just a natural reaction.  And more important than that, it’s fair.  In the old days it was all random—some people kind of pretty, most people ugly all their lives.  Now everyone’s ugly…until they’re pretty.  No losers.”

The idea behind this novel is very interesting, and hits close to home.  On every person’s sixteenth birthday, they are given a surgery to transform from an ugly, into a pretty.  The pretties get to have big parties and don’t have a care in the world.  Children are taught from a very early age that making everyone pretty fixes the problems and inequality that the old “Rusties” faced in the past.

It took several chapters to get hooked on this story, though I’m glad I got past it.  My initial turn off came from the “preachy” feeling that I got from the narration.  There was an obvious message to readers about how we view beauty.  Also, I was more aware that the book was written for a younger audience than I was, for example, when I read The Hunger Games.

While the narration started with a very young feel, it improved exponentially as the novel moved forward.  Actually, Tally, the main character, matured throughout the novel, and her voice evolved with her.   Kudos to the author for accomplishing this so subtly.   I also loved the other characters that we met along the way.

Of course, Uglies ended with a huge cliffhanger, and I’m already desperate to read the next in the series, Pretties.  I can’t wait to learn more about this world.  It’s been a while since I’ve read a five star book, but even with its slow start, this is a highly recommended read!