"Tally can't wait to turn sixteen and become pretty. Sixteen is the magic number that brings a transformation from 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."
‘Uglies’ by Scott Westerfeld is the first book in the ‘Uglies Quartet’ series. It is set in a dystopian future where humans have altered themselves with surgery to become the perfect biological idea of beautiful. On their sixteenth birthday, ‘Uglies’ undergo the surgery to become ‘Pretties’. They go through three operations in their lives; the first makes them a ‘New Pretty’, the second a ‘Middle Pretty’ and the third ‘Crumblies’.
Tally Youngblood is three months away from turning sixteen and is looking forward to having her operation and joining the other Pretties in New Pretty Town. She is the youngest in her group of friends and her best friend Peris has already become pretty. But while sneaking into New Pretty Town to see Peris, Tally meets Shay, another Ugly and they quickly become good friends.
But Shay has a secret. She doesn't want to become Pretty and is going to run away to The Smoke, a civilisation outside the city where no-one has the operation. Before she goes, she leaves Tally a series of cryptic clues to find The Smoke in case Tally decides to follow her.
Tally goes for her operation anyway but she is blackmailed by a group of Cruel Pretties called Special Circumstances who say that she won’t get her operation until she follows Shay to The Smoke and discloses its location to them. Tally is desperate to be Pretty so she goes, but she discovers that life in The Smoke isn't all bad, and maybe she wants to stay Ugly after all…
When I first read the blurb for this book it struck me as a seriously terrifying vision of the future. I love dystopian books and this society sounded like a very interesting (and scary!) version of how the future could pan out. Nowadays, there is a lot of pressure on young girls and boys to look ‘good’. Many young girls aspire to look perfect in the eyes of others. This book really grabbed onto that idea and developed it into a horrifying realisation of what could happen if modern society continues on the way it is. I think the scariest thing about this is that it’s only set 300 years into the future from now. The Uglies have grown up with it drilled into their heads that everyone who isn't perfect is ugly, giving them low self-esteem and making them look forward to the day when it is their time to turn.
I love Tally’s character development throughout the novel. In the beginning her life goal is very much to turn pretty and party over in New Pretty town with Peris. But when she goes out to The Smoke she finds out something about the operation that alters her opinion of it. She also meets David who was born outside the city, and she starts to believe that not everyone needs to turn Pretty to be beautiful.
I'm very much looking forward to how Tally’s character develops further over the next 3 books in this series.
I would give this book 4 stars :)
Have you read this series? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
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