This review is of the second book in a series and contains spoilers for the first book. Please only read this review if you have read Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.
Pretties (Uglies #2) by Scott Westerfeld
Published by Simon Pulse on May 5, 2005
Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she’s completely popular. It’s everything she’s ever wanted.
But beneath all the fun — the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom — is a nagging sense that something’s wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally’s ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what’s wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.
Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life — because the authorities don’t intend to let anyone with this information survive.
I picked up Pretties immediately after finishing the first book in this series, Uglies. One of the benefits of reading an older book series is that there is no waiting between books, and I certainly prefer to read them all in a row so as to not forget any details. Pretties picks up about a month after Uglies finishes. Tally is, of course, now Pretty, and she is living in New Pretty Town and enjoying all the benefits that come with being Pretty. I was immediately impressed with how Westerfeld is able to change his entire writing style to fit the tone of this book. He adapts a new vocabulary, and emits a new aura to represent the laid-back and bubble-headed Pretty mentality. Just as Tally becomes Pretty, the reader does, too.
I really enjoyed reading the portions of the book that take place in New Pretty Town. In Uglies, I only had a glimpse into what it meant to be Pretty. I was glad that Westerfeld really dove into the Pretty culture in this book. I found the idea of cliques to be really interesting, and I loved seeing how the Pretties interact with one another. Westerfeld does a great job at flushing out the world he created in book one.
Moreover, I also liked the introduction of the new characters in this novel. I instantly loved the character of Zane, the mysterious leader of Tally’s new friend group. I was rooting for him and Tally to be a couple, and loved whenever they were in scenes together. Be forewarned, though, if you don’t like love triangles in books this may be a drawback for you. I thought this triangle was well-written and also very logical considering Tally’s Pretty status, so I don’t think it takes away from the story at all.
In addition, I also liked other new characters introduced, and the people Tally encounters as the story continues. While I won’t explain more due to spoilers, suffice it to say Westerfeld is no stranger to surprising the reader and adding in some fun twists and turns. One of the reasons I really enjoy this series is because of its fast-paced and addictive qualities. Pretties definitely keeps up with Uglies in terms of pace.
The one main critique I have is a small plot hole that for some reason really took away from the credibility of the novel. In Uglies, we get to meet Tally’s parents, who encouraged her to listen to Special Circumstances and help them find the Smoke. In Pretties, we never hear about her parents. What happened to them? Did they meet Tally after her operation? Do Pretties not have contact with their parents? These questions were left unanswered, and while this is not a main part of the story, it still didn’t sit well with me.
Nonetheless, I really enjoyed Pretties, and thought it was a great continuation to the series. I highly recommend reading it if you’ve read Uglies but haven’t yet continued on in the series. The book is such a quick read, and I was still extremely invested in Tally and her story by the end of this second book. Westerfeld definitely knows how to keep a series alive!
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