Sunday, September 11, 2011

Scott Westerfeld's Uglies


Imagine a world where you are considered your entire life until you turn sixteen.  At sixteen, the milestone that everyone waits for, you have an operation that transforms you into a pretty. What do you do when you discover that it’s not exactly what you thought it would be? That’s the story of Tally Youngblood who is a few months younger than her best friend and must wait her turn for the operation. It is something that she has been looking forward to her entire life, she has dreamt of turning pretty. Turning pretty is something that is expected of everyone and life in the city is the only life she knows. That is until she meets up with Shay, another ugly who had friends turn pretty before her. Shay teaches Tally knew tricks and pushes her further out into the wild than she’s ever been. But that’s not all Shay does, she introduces Tally to ideas and people that challenges her city’s way of life. Sent a mission that meant to betray only draws her closer to people that defy the norms and shows her that there is something better out there for her. A mission that uncovers lies and secrets that no one was ever meant to know.
If I was to be completely honest, I would say that this is my second time reading this book. I decided to finish the series and realized that it has been a while so I wanted to get the story fresh in my mind. When I started reading it –again- I was disappointed. I wasn’t even sure why I had read the story in the first place and definitely not sure if I was going to continue.  A part of that was the irritation that parts of the story sounded familiar enough to remind that I had already this book but not familiar enough for me to skip over those parts.  But I pushed through and found myself lost in this world where everyone is ugly. Despite that it’s an equalizer it claims to be, it rips the idea of being different to shreds. Talk about creating a self-esteem complex, who really wants to grow in a world where you are reminded how ugly you are every single day?
Differences are not celebrated and conformity is expected. Even the people who are naturally gorgeous lose something. The operation is designed for people to be average, not ugly and not beautiful.  It’s disturbing to read a book that focuses so much on looks and appearances especially one that is meant for young readers.  But at the same time it is comforting to see someone address an issue that presents so much turmoil for youth in such a way that it gets them to think about things differently. If there is one thing that I have learned from this book is that prettiness comes at a price and though it is hard, not conforming to ideals that do not have my best interest in mind is well worth it.
It’s a journey of self-discovery, betrayal, and trying to right the wrongs of the world. It’s one girl’s fight to be allowed to be who she is as she is and another girl’s journey to finally understanding who she is and learning to accept it.  This is only the beginning and I have to admit that I am looking forward to the next book. I am intrigued about what is going to happen to Tally Youngblood and Shay. I want to know if the betrayal will ever be forgiven and if the budding romance is given a chance to blossom into something meaningful.  Most of all, I want to know what kind of trouble the Uglies are going to cause next.  I will let you  know my recommendation about this series when I finished it completely.
If you want to know more about the Uglies series or any of the other books Scott has written check out his website at You can also find Scott on Facebook. His new book Goliath, the final book in the Leviathan series will be out Sept. 20, 2011. 
Always Shine,
Starr K.

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