Monday, July 16, 2007

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Megan added this to her list of Summer Reading Thing books while we were vacationing. She really liked it, so I had to read it too. She's not allowed to have book reading fun without me.

I loved this book! Uglies is book one of the trilogy. Pretties (Uglies Trilogy, Book 2) is out in paperback and Specials (Uglies Trilogy, Book 3) is in hardback (paperback version due out Sept. 11; I guess I can wait). I think this action-packed and highly entertaining futuristic novel which examines the definition of beauty should be required reading for all teens, but especially for 14 to 18 year old girls. I think boys would like it too, if they can get past the fact that the main character is a girl.

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 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.

The plot is good. It's a coming-of-age story, young men and women against the corrupt adult authority, but with a few twists thrown in. This is a YA book (target 12-18), but I was captivated by it. The characters were very believable. I loved Tally—adventurous and independent without being obnoxious. There is no swearing. There are mentions of Pretties who go to the "pleasure gardens" at night, but it doesn't say what goes on there. There's hand-holding and a couple of kisses, but no sensuality. I feel absolutely comfortable letting anyone over the age of 12 read this.

This is a great book for parents and teens to read and discuss together. It really makes you think about beauty—what it is, who defines it, and how important it is. I found some wonderful discussion questions online.

I know I'll get some argument, but I liked this book a little better than Twilight because I could fully like and respect the main character instead of thinking she was an idiot most of the time. Plus, it is not a romance so the main point of the story is not getting some guy to like you. (puke!) It's about right and wrong, freedom of choice, respect for people because of who they are and how they behave, rather than how they look. I don't know for sure how the series will end up, but I sure like the direction it's going.

I give this book 4.5 (out of 5) without reservation (except for using leaped instead of leapt). I'm looking forward to reading Pretties (Uglies Trilogy, Book 2) as soon as Megan is done. (Hurry up, already!) And September better come fast, or I might have to break down and buy the hardback of Specials (Uglies Trilogy, Book 3) to see how this trilogy wraps up.

Which brings me to one more thing. Megan, don't scream. Just click here.


Jennifer, Snapshot said...

This is a great review! Thanks for alerting me (and the other readers) about this one.

Be sure to link it up to the Read Together review page that is up now.

JMC said...

I have "Uglies" on my list for the "Something About Me" challenge. Thought it might be good to read and pass on to my 13-year-old daughter. And now the trilogy has a fourth book? Does that make it a quadrilogy?

Becky said...

I really loved Uglies. Scott Westerfeld is such a great writer.