3 out of 5 Stars
This book has been hanging out on my shelf for a while. And, ehem, I happened to be borrowing from someone… So it was time for me to finally dig in.
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…
This novel was based around a hugely intriguing concept–forced plastic surgery to make everyone beautiful–but story just wasn’t for me.
Readers follow Tally, a young girl living as an “ugly” in a world full of beautiful and enticing “pretties”. She can’t wait until the day when she’ll go under the knife to be transformed into a pretty herself. The importance of beauty is so ingrained in society that even small children play with computer versions of their faces to figure out how they want to look once they become “pretty”.
Their world revolves around extreme beauty and blatant consumerism, leading to a society of brainwashed individuals. The level of vapid vanity shown by many of the characters left me cringing. Even Tally, who is still an ugly, can’t help but put beauty on a pedestal, leading her to consider betraying the people she loves.
This novel includes many of the typical YA tropes, like the love triangle (though not your typical YA love triangle) and the young, inexperienced protagonist trying to find a way to defeat super evil bad guys who are much more intelligent and well-supplied. But that happens… Many of the character interactions are absolutely infuriating, though believable when you consider that they’re mostly teenagers fixated on nothing but beauty.
The writing style is simple and sometimes falls a bit flat. Many of the characters also use a sort of doublespeak that becomes much more apparent in future books in the series. It gets a bit repetitive and annoying after a while (think “newspeak” from 1984).
Overall I give Uglies 3 out 5 stars. If you’re looking for a post-apocalyptic book with an interesting concept (and don’t mind slightly annoying characters), give this one a shot 🙂