Book Review: Uglies

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Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (Uglies #1) – Paperback, 425 pages – Published March 29th 2012 by Simon and Schuster

I’ve heard of this book before but never really thought about reading it. The sequel, Pretties, was one of the books of the month on Goodreads, which is what inspired me to finally give it a go.

The whole idea of this book is really rather clever, and honestly quite plausible. The world which Tally knows is split into uglies and pretties – pretties having been transformed to biological perfection on their 16th birthday. Everyone looks forward to the day of the operation, and the life of excitement and partying that follows. Tally is no exception, anticipating the change and being reunited with her best friend Peris, even after she meets Shay – a young ugly who plans to run away from the city before she is turned pretty.

When Shay runs away, Tally stays behind for her operation. But Special Circumstances take her instead, and tell her that she cannot be pretty until she helps them find the Smoke – the wild settlement of runaways that Shay told her about. There’s no way out of it – she has to either let down Shay or Peris. When she finally makes her choice, she is sent off to follow Shay’s cryptic directions to the smoke – as a spy.

Tally learns a lot about life while in the Smoke. She learns how sheltered she was in the city, and how little she really knows about the past or the wilderness. She also learns something a lot more shocking, about how the operation affects more than just your appearance.

The theme of this is lovely. Tally starts off as a girl who hates her looks, waiting to become beautiful as if it’s the only thing that matters. But she eventually changes her mind, and fights against the system. Along with her fellow Smokies and tricky uglies, Tally is determined to bring the operation to an end.

My main problem with this book is the language. It just seems too immature at times, such as the terms “ugly” and “pretty” being used the way they are. I might just be being picky here, but it did irritate me a fair bit. It reminds me of one of those kids books designed to hammer some moral or lessons into a child’s head.

Another thing I can’t quite comprehend is that there are three more books in the series?! I mean, I can see a sequel working – the ending is rather exciting – but how can there be so many? I guess I’ll find out…

So this book has it’s ups and downs. It isn’t my favourite, but I don’t dislike it. I could read it fairly easily, and did enjoy it. I think 3.5 stars.

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