Monday, April 6, 2009

REVIEW: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies coverSeries: Uglies #1
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Pub. Date: Feb. 2005, Simon & Schuster 
Format: Paperback, 425 pages
Source/FTC Disclosure: I purchased my copy of this book. I was in no way compensated for this review and my opinions are my own.
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.
But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. 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 the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.


This book had been on my wish list for awhile, and I finally picked it up when we were on vacation in Florida a couple of weeks ago. I started it yesterday afternoon and found myself already finishing it earlier today. The book had me intrigued (and laughing) at the first line: "The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit." Tell me that doesn't catch your attention. Admittedly, as I continued reading, the story took a bit of getting used to and felt like it was off to a slow start, but that was mainly because Westerfeld had to devote many pages to what I call the backstory before he could really get into the action and crux of the adventure.

Westerfeld has created an interesting story that focuses on topics that teens (and former teens and probably tweens, too) can relate to: body image, peer pressure, self-worth and self-confidence. But with Uglies, he's done this in a very creative, captivating way. Westerfeld's writing style isn't earth-shattering and his futuristic ideas take some getting used to, but overall the book was a very easy, fast read, despite being over 400 pages. I really liked Tally and grew quite attached to her--Westerfeld did a great job with her character development. I could see it coming when she unwittingly notified the authorities (the "Specials" or Special Circumstances) of her whereabouts with Shay (and other uglies, known as the Smokies) and was interested to see how her apparent betrayal would be handled. I was not disappointed. The book closes with Tally making a difficult but necessary choice that sends her back to become a Pretty. And naturally, that's where Uglies leaves off and Pretties begins.

I really wasn't sure at first if I was going to like this book, but in the end I really did. I was a little turned off by Westerfeld's treatment of various issues that may or may not have led to the Rusties' (that's us, if I'm not mistaken) downfall, but was able to separate that from the real story that was being told. In fact, I liked the book so much that I've had to change up my reading plans for the week because I went ahead and bought Pretties, and have already started reading it!

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Other reviews of Uglies:


  1. This series is totally bizarre to me. Sometimes bizarre is good. I'm glad you enjoyed the book.

  2. Really great review. I'd really like to start it and see how it sits with me

  3. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I really need to read this series!

    Mind if I ask you a blog question? How did you replace the orange blogger "B" with your butterfly button in the browser toolbar? I looove that!

  4. Ti ~ In this case, for me bizarre was good. I really enjoy sci-fi type books and this one worked for me.

    Mishel ~ I think you'd like these books, give 'em a shot!

    Nymeth ~ I found a few sites that helped me with the right code. Some of them actually don't have the complete code you need. I'll send you an email with the info, otherwise I'll be writing an essay here :-)

  5. great review! and here is the link to mine. I am adding your review to my post as well. I have loved discussing this with you on twitter

  6. I want to read this too. With two girlies heading into tweens, it is a subject I really need to get my head round.

  7. I've said this so many times about needing to read this series but I do really need to read it. Great review. This time when I go pick up my books at the library, I'll grab this off the shelf.

  8. I almost got this out of the library yesterday, but I have so many books at home already! sigh....someday.

  9. I loved this book and this series! I finally got around to reading them earlier this year.


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