Title - Uglies
Rating - 3 Stars
Author - Scott Westerfield
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.
I have been meaning to read this book since secondary school but I've never had the motivation to go out and get but this week I decided to change that and give Scot Westerfield a chance after all he has proven that he is not terrible with his Peeps series.
It had a very descent start with fantastic world building. It is very clear that Westerfield has this word quite thought out with all the fractions of society structures quite well and their technology is also wonderfully detailed however what really struck home with me with this series is the obsession of beauty.
Tally is obsessed with beauty, obsession doesn't even begin to cover it. Everything she does is to ensure that she becomes one of the pretties and at first that goes to great lengths to make us aware of how beauty obsessed the word really is. While this is great at the beginning, it does start to wear think as Tally makes increasingly destructive decisions to insure that she does finally become a pretty. I have to say, she is one of the most annoying characters I have ever had a pleasure of meeting.
What really started to grate on my nerves was the way in which David looked at Tally, as if the sun shone and ended with her. He constantly attributed simple actions are truly heroic and fantastical. It is very Romero and Juliet-esk in the sense that it is an infatuation that leads to an entire rebellion hanging on the shoulders of an irresponsible little boy.
One of the main faults about this book is the fact that setting is so well thought out but it seems like the characters are more of an after thought and a bad after thought they are. The friendship between Shay and Tally is full of holes at best, why would Shay tell Tally about the Smokies after knowing her just few month especially considering it is THE closest guarded secret in the country. How is it that a lone teenage girl can find this place but a mighty civilisation with enhanced super beings can't seem to find it.
The only redeeming character was Shay. She started out as an independent, smart and fiery character who wrote one hell of a riddle. She would have made a brilliant narrative point but very soon into the Smokes, she pretty much turned into a whiny little girl whose entire being involved being jealous of Tally and David's relationship.
The character just didn't cut it for me but I suppose if you happen to have patience for whiny teenage girls then this should not be too hard to read. Overall I give this 3 out of 5, just because I just about got through the whole thing.
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (29 Mar 2012)
Author's Website: http://www.scottwesterfeld.com/
Purchase: Amazon | Barns & Nobel