Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Date Published: 2011-05-03
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Description: 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...
Uglies is a pretty good dystopia where at age 16, everyone gets an operation to make them pretty – as opposed to the uglies they are now. I liked that the novel explored what we as people think is beauty (symmetrical faces, little body fat, etc) but also explored the truth behind the beauty in our natural features and differences. If you’re not familiar with the series at all, this might be a spoiler, but I already knew this going into the series: when someone is turned from ugly to pretty, it isn’t just their outer appearance that is changed. There’s a bit of um, let’s call it brainwashing, involved, that results in the pretties being so shallow and accepting of everything around them.
Now let’s move on to my complaints about the novel. The characters are about to turn 16, yet they act, I don’t know, 12 in the early part of the novel. Seriously the first quarter of the book is the uglies playing pranks (tricks). Sure, that was necessary to show the friendship that developed between our main character Tally and her friend Shay, but did it have to seem so juvenile? I was quite bored until it finally got good, when Shay runs away just before their birthdays and the scheduled turning. Since Tally knows Shay so well, Tally is pretty much forced to go after Shay as a spy to find her and the location of the people who run away (the Smoke) by the Specials – and they’re a scary group of people on their own. That is when the novel finally went somewhere, and the rest of it was interesting.
I liked Tally as a character. She really goes from believing in the Pretties and the city rules to having her eyes opened by the Smokies and David especially to what is really going on. She goes from being a spy and wanting to go back to turn pretty, to really understanding that uglies are not truly ugly after all. Shay I’m not so sure about. Her jealousy of Tally and her developing relationship with David was getting a little annoying, and except for the earlier part of the book, their friendship isn’t shown to develop or change very much at all. David is a really cool character. He grew up in the Smokies and really knows how to survive outside the comforts of the Cities. I liked seeing him fall for Tally’s spirited nature, though for a romance of a 16 year old and (I forget how old David is supposed to be), it wasn’t very emotionally written. It was there, but it was missing a lot of something.
Overall, this was a pretty good story, and I like how it ended in a set up for the next book. Not really a cliffhanger, but a next time on kind of thing. This book was missing some sort of oomph but I just can’t put my finger on what. I am curious about the rest of the series though.