Published by Simon Pulse in 2005
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunning pretty. And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.
But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty. 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 a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally’s choice will change her world forever…
I’ve wanted to read the Uglies series for a few years now after hearing YouTuber Joey Graceffa mention it in one of his videos. I’m a huge fan of the dystopian genre, and this one sounded really intriguing. Uglies follows Tally Youngblood. She lives in a city where at the age of sixteen everyone gets a surgery to become Pretty. Tally is excited for her operation, and looking forward to the future. Yet everything changes when her new friend Shay decides to run away and not get the operation. Tally is forced to help the government track Shay down, or never be Pretty.
I was instantly sucked into this world, and found the writing extremely addicting and really fast-paced. While the world is not completely unique, it was still really cool. I liked the different technology involved, especially the hoverboards that take Tally and her friends around the city. In the same way, I liked that Westerfeld kept Uglies in the third-person narrative. This is different from many other young adult dystopians in which the main character is narrating, and I found the change refreshing.
As for the characters, I instantly connected with Tally and was rooting for her from page one. She is an extremely likable character, because while she wants to fit into society, she also wants to do what she thinks is right. I did find that Tally was a bit too gullible, but other than that I think she is the perfect protagonist. Both Shay and David, on the other hand, I didn’t trust. This is proof of Westerfeld’s excellent writing skills, though, as Tally is unsure whether she should trust them, too.
My main critique of the story is that everything seems to work out a bit too easily for Tally. Yes, she faces some unsurmountable challenges, but despite how quickly the adventure unfurls, everything settles nicely. That being said, I was able to let that slide because I was so invested in the story. I couldn’t wait to pick up the next book in the series when Uglies came to a close!
All in all, I really enjoyed Uglies and am so glad I finally picked it up! I highly recommend it for fans of the dystopian genre. The book has a great discussion on what makes a person good or evil, and it is also the first dystopian world that I was willing to live in myself. I know this is an older series, so if you’ve read Uglies please share your thoughts with me!
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