Uglies by Scott Westerfield

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…

I was in a reading slump, and a friend of mine told me about this book, which had been on her reading list for some time.

Uglies has a very interesting concept. It’s based on the standards of beauty in a dystopian society, where everybody is beautiful, and therefore, everybody who is normal by our standards, is considered ugly. It’s this theme that makes the book pretty unique, and made me want to try it.

I quite enjoyed the first book. Although I felt that the language, while adding effect to the characters, was very basic and dull, I really enjoyed the plot, and the tiny elements of mystery that made you want to keep reading. I did manage to observe Tally grow as a character (although every time I saw her name, for some reason, I could only think of ‘Tally-ho!’), and it was nice to see the different sides to her personality.

But here’s the thing – Uglies is a YA series, but as I read, it, I couldn’t help but feel that the language and vocabulary was too simple, and although the themes were young adult, the writing made it feel like middle grade (I’m not typically a fan of middle grade books). Yes, I do understand that some of it was to enhance the simle-minded nature of the society, but I also felt that it made the books really boring.

Plus, those nicknames made me want to cringe in awkwardness (if that’s a word). ‘Shay-la’ and ‘Tally-wa’? Ugh. Maybe they wouldn’t have been so bad, but the childish tone of voice in which the characters always spoke, mad me feel sick, and just served to seriously annoy me. I stopped halfway through the last book of the trilogy, Specials. I don’t think I missed out on much.


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