Book Review : Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies (Uglies, #1)
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Product details
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's (4 Mar 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 1847389066
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847389060
  • Ages: 12 and up

Tally lives in a world where your sixteenth birthday brings aesthetic perfection: an operation which erases all your flaws, transforming you from an 'Ugly' into a 'Pretty'. She is on the eve of this important event, and cannot wait for her life to change. As well as guaranteeing supermodel looks, life as a Pretty seems to revolve around having a good time. But then she meets Shay, who is also fifteen - but with a very different outlook on life. Shay isn't sure she wants to be Pretty and plans to escape to a community in the forest - the Rusty Ruins - where Uglies go to escape ' turning'. Tally won't be persuaded to join her, as this would involve sacrificing everything she's ever wanted for a lot of uncertainty. When she is taken in for questioning on her birthday, however, Tally gets sent to the Ruins anyway - against her will. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she could ever imagine: find her friend Shay and turn her in, or never turn Pretty at all. What she discovers in the Ruins reveals that there is nothing 'pretty' about the transformations...And the choice Tally makes will change her world forever.

Nowadays, people spend a lot of time on their appearances, and are always fretting upon the slightest imperfections. Some even undergo plastic surgery so that they can appear more gorgeous and attractive. The vainness and frailties of humans resonate within this book which I'm going to review today, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.

Is becoming pretty a good thing?

At first, Tally was eager to get the operation, so that she could become a 'pretty', instead of her current 'ugly'. She yearned for others' admiration, attention and adoring glances. When her friend, Shay, decided to flee to a place called 'Smoke', she did not want to run away with her because she could not bear to lose her only chance of becoming pretty.

But she was coerced to go there anyway, to bring her friend back and to help the Special Circumstances abolish 'Smoke' once and for all. She was in a dilemma - should she betray her friend or remain as an 'ugly' forever?

I realized from this book that what you've been taught since young are not necessarily true, and all humans remain flawed no matter what they do. Scott has successfully created a highly-believable dystopian world in Uglies which addresses the various issues that a teenager may face in real life - peer pressure, appearance, lack of confidence and conformity. I think that it may be better if the government in Uglies can educate its people so that they can learn to differentiate between good and evil, rather than turning them into brain-damaged pretties with no ideas, wills and personalities of their own. Everyone deserves a fair treatment and personal freedom.

Uglies is exciting, refreshing and thought-provoking. It was such a pleasure reading it! I had never come upon a book with such a wonderful concept and theme. The ending of Uglies left me wondering what will come to pass in the next book, Pretties. I absolutely can't wait to read it!

"What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful" --- Scott Westerfeld, Uglies, 2005

Rating: 4.500

My deepest gratitude to Kathryn from Simon & Schuster UK for sending me a paperback copy of Pretties for this review! Thank you, Kathryn!

Scott Westerfeld was born in Texas, and received a BA in philosophy from Vassar in 1985. He splits his time between New York City and Sydney, Australia. He is the author of Midnighters, Uglies, So Yesterday and Peeps. You can visit Scott Westerfeld's website to know more about him.

Buy Uglies (paperback) at:
Simon & Schuster UK :: The Book Depository

Other versions:
Uglies (Uglies, #1)Uglies (Uglies, #1)

Visit the Uglies Fansite
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2 creative remarks:

Johnny said...

I want to read Uglies too!

Rachel said...

I really really want to read this book!

And the plot thickens...