The dystopian novel, Uglies by Scott Westerfield, describes a haunting dystopia where surgical beauty hides government’s dark secrets.
In fifteen-year-old Tally Youngblood’s world, there are three types of people: Uglies, Pretties, and Specials. Until Tally turns sixteen, she will be an Ugly. Sixteen is the age when Uglies undergo the surgery that turns them into stunning Pretties.
One night Tally sneaks into a New Prettyville party to see an old friend, Peris, whose already a Pretty, as an Ugly prank. While she’s escaping, however, she encounters something. Thinking that she’s been caught by a middle Pretty warden, Tally reveals herself.
It turns out that the other person hiding on the river that borders Ugly and Pretty towns, is an Ugly like herself. The other Ugly introduces herself as Shay. The two girls bond and become friends despite their differences.
Unlike Tally, Shay does not care to become Pretty. During hoverboard trips, Shay reveals that she is going to run away to an undercover rebel group–The Smoke–in the wilderness. Shay wants to escape the shallow mindedness of Prettiness.
When Shay runs away, Dr. Cable, a cunning doctor from Special Circumstances (the government) makes a deal with Tally. Follow Shay with a tracker and betray the Smoke or never become Pretty.
Facing a crushing dilemma, Tally at last decides to travel alone to the Smoke. She amazingly completes the journey alone and arrives at the Smoke. But the Smoke wasn’t what Tally expected and Tally begins to admire the people of the Smoke. As Tally begins to fall into the routine of the Smoke, she forgets Dr. Cable’s deal and the tracker.
Eventually Tally must make a choice. Wills she help Dr. Cable stamp out the Smoke or will she become an insurgent? When Tally casts her tracker pendant into the fire, she declares her allegiance to the Smoke. But will her choice harm or help the Smoke?
I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dystopias with hidden themes and questions about society’s obsession with external looks. The protagonist, Tally Youngblood, was beautifully developed and was well-flawed so she could mature throughout the novel. The writing was also good and the story moved at a good rate and made me want to read the second book: Pretties.
Rating: Read It!
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