Uglies - by Scott Westerfeld
"in a futuristic city where people want to be perfect, perfectly the same"
Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies is a YA futuristic action tale that engages the reader right from the start. Westerfeld uses creative language to capture the reader’s attention. The first sentence, “The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit,” is a humorous description of the main character, Tally Youngblood’s, view of life, with her sarcastic nature.
Westerfeld immediately takes you on a journey in a futuristic lifetime with hover cars, bungee vests, and an operation everyone must have, when they turn 16, that makes them super-model beautiful. All the children younger than 16 are convinced by adults that they are ugly. Once these teens undergo the operation, they are sent to a high-tech town and their only job is to party. Those who do not want to change their appearance are breaking the law. These are the people who run away to a secret city called the Smoke. Everyone in the Smoke is “ugly,” and they work together to survive and live freely.
Tally Youngblood is only weeks away from her operation, and she can’t wait. She is living the life she’s always expected until she makes a new friend named Shay who does not want to have the operation. When Shay runs away, Tally is confronted by the authorities and she must make a choice, to find her friend and turn her in, or to never be pretty. The action never stops as Tally goes on her journey through the ruins of “Rusty” cities (our present day cities).
The operation in this futuristic city is a description of how people want to be “perfect.” We ignore our individualistic features that make us special and want to be a part of the crowd. In Uglies, Westerfeld describes all the pretties being “bubbly” and having no worries. There are no fights in New Pretty Town, just fun and parties. The “ugly” people want to be different, to have their own opinions, and to control their own lives.
I suggest this book to any reader with a thirst for action. Uglies has plenty of action and a sends a good message. It has enough plot and surprises to keep any reader entertained. It is a light, well-written book to read just for fun.