Sunday, December 13, 2009


Title: Uglies

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Pages: 448

Rating: ****

Summary (From Amazon): Playing on every teen’s passionate desire to look as good as everybody else, Scott Westerfeld projects a future world in which a compulsory operation at sixteen wipes out physical differences and makes everyone pretty by conforming to an ideal standard of beauty. The "New Pretties" are then free to play and party, while the younger "Uglies" look on enviously and spend the time before their own transformations in plotting mischievous tricks against their elders. Tally Youngblood is one of the most daring of the Uglies, and her imaginative tricks have gotten her in trouble with the menacing department of Special Circumstances. She has yearned to be pretty, but since her best friend Shay ran away to the rumored rebel settlement of recalcitrant Uglies called The Smoke, Tally has been troubled. The authorities give her an impossible choice: either she follows Shay’s cryptic directions to The Smoke with the purpose of betraying the rebels, or she will never be allowed to become pretty. Hoping to rescue Shay, Tally sets off on the dangerous journey as a spy. But after finally reaching The Smoke she has a change of heart when her new lover David reveals to her the sinister secret behind becoming pretty. The fast-moving story is enlivened by many action sequences in the style of video games, using intriguing inventions like hoverboards that use the rider’s skateboard skills to skim through the air, and bungee jackets that make wild downward plunges survivable -- and fun. Behind all the commotion is the disturbing vision of our own society -- the Rusties -- visible only in rusting ruins after a virus destroyed all petroleum. Teens will be entranced, and the cliffhanger ending will leave them gasping for the sequel.

Review: Okay, so it took me a while to finally read this book. I heard about how great the series was, but I didn't read it until about a year ago, when I finally picked it up--and put it down, finished, a day later. For those readers who think they can't handle 400 pages--trust me, it does not feel like 400 pages. It was a page turner. I like Tally; she's tough, rebellious, and daring. I don't know if I'd be as daring as she is if I lived in her world. The other characters of the book are great and the plot is fast-paced. And hoverboarding? Epic! There are several twists that you can't see coming, and the cliffhanger? It'll kill you until you pick up...

Title: Pretties

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Pages: 384

Rating: ***1/2

Summary (from Amazon): Tally, the protagonist of the first book, has forgotten all that she did as an Ugly and has completely embraced the mindless life of a New Pretty, going to parties, drinking heavily, and thinking of nothing more than the next bit of entertainment. It is not until one of the Uglies from New Smoke comes and delivers a message for her that leads her to two pills, that she begins to remember the real reason she is Pretty: to see if the cure will work. Tally and her new boyfriend, Zane, each take one of the pills and both begin to stay focused for longer periods of time. When he has a bad reaction to the pill, Tally has to make a desperate attempt to get him to the only doctors who can help him–the ones outside the city. Westerfeld has built a masterfully complex and vivid civilization. His characters are multidimensional, especially Tally, who wrestles with what she has done in the past and what she will be forced to do in the future.

Review: An great sequel. I read this while on vacation, and it may have been the distracting ocean, but I didn't find it as gripping as Uglies until the last few chapters. It was still good, of course--Tally and her new boyfriend Zane, along with their clique, are still rebellious--they are trying to stay "bubbly", the feeling the operation took away. This book gives readers the inside world of Pretties--on the surface, most people would probably love this operation. I know I did at first! Who hasn't envied the looks of celebrities? But after seeing what it does to you, less-than-stunning outer beauty doesn't seem worth losing yourself. This book has another horribly amazing cliffhanger, making me super excited for Christmas--Specials and Extras are high on my list!!!

Recommended for: Sci-fi readers; action lovers; anyone who has ever hated their looks or envied the beauty of someone else.

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