“What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful.”
– Scott Westerfeld Uglies
Synopsis: 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. . . When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world — and it isn’t very pretty.
Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies is the first in a series of novels that asks the question; What is the cost of beauty? This dystopian novel takes place in a world were everyone is made to believe they are “ugly” until their sixteenth birthday, when the are tuned pretty via extensive plastic surgery.
The book is written in very simple language or as one Good Reads reviewer said “it won’t have you racing to a dictionary.” The novel is almost a contemporary version of The Giver. . . at least for the first 200 pages. At some point the novel begins to go on a tangent and while it has a few twist and turns, the rest of the series (I’m on the 3rd one) rely on a deux ex machina, that seems to come out of nowhere.
While the story did lose me at times, it made up for it with moments that make the character’s motivations and emotions seem real. While usually jargon bothers me in a book, I actually found the speech patterns and ugly-verse language to be very natural.
The big question in this series is about can we socially construct pretty and ugly like we do gender.
According to Westerfeld, this will be made into a filmand I’m interested to see how it will come across. Hopefully it will be totally bubbly-making.