Once again in Chapters, once again with my friend Karen, browsing the stacks, in the YA section, and she points to a book, saying “have you read this? It’s pretty good.” This time, she was referring to Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.
I hadn’t read it, so I picked it up. Of course.
This is another story of dystopian fiction. Our story is about Tally. She exists in a world where you are either Ugly or Pretty. You are born cute and remain so until you are 12. Then you are considered Ugly, and are shipped off to live with the other Uglies until you are 16, where you will undergo an operation to become “Pretty.” Basically taking away all your features and starting from scratch, making your face perfectly symmetrical, your skin flawless, your hair perfect, etc. Pretties have no job but to have fun, and party and be happy. Sounds amazing to an ugly like Tally, whose best friend Peris just became Pretty a few months prior. She can’t wait until she turns 16 and it will finally be her turn for the operation.
The idea behind these operations are to bring peace to society. They are based on the idea that if everyone is beautiful, and equal, there will be no wars, no disagreements between anyone, because no one will have anything to fight about. Flawed logic, obviously, and there is usually a sinister element in these dystopian societies, as people are usually brainwashed into believing that everything is perfect. The freedom of choice is usually non existent.
On her own as an ugly in the weeks prior to her 16th Birthday, Tally meets and becomes friends with another Ugly, Shay. They become very close and Tally eventually realizes that Shay feels like there is something wrong with the operation, and society on a whole (Duh!) and she doesn’t want to become Pretty.
Eventually, Tally is given a choice. And with her own future as a Pretty in the balance, she needs to choose whether to betray her friend and become Pretty, as she has always wanted and has been waiting for her whole life, or rebel and live a much different life than she had imagined.
I liked this book. It wasn’t literary genius, but the concept is pretty cool, and most of the characters are fairly likable. Dystopian fiction is really catching on, especially in Young Adult Fiction, and this is unlike a lot of the others. Tally is a good heroine, spunky and strong, capable and resilient, though for the most part, she is quite taken with the idea of becoming a Pretty and is willing to do whatever it takes to be one. She is overall a good, caring person, and I like her as the main character.
I’m getting ready to start Pretties, and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.