Monday, September 12, 2011

Book review: Uglies

Today's book review comes courtesy of the closing Borders in our town. Geoff and I stopped by a little over a month ago when it first started its final clearance sale, and I picked up this series, the first of which is a book called Uglies. {The other books are Pretties, Specials and Extras, but I won't bother reviewing have to read Uglies first!}

Uglies could be considered a dystopian novel, because it's set in a world where everyone is gorgeous and, typical to many dystopian novels, everything is very well controlled by the government. Children, called Littlies, are born in the community, and move into a large dorm when they're 12 years old, when they become "ugly". They loose their littlie cuteness and, basically, move into puberty which, of course, no one can consider particularly pretty. On their 16th birthday exactly, Uglies are turned into Pretties, whose only job for the next few years is to relax and have fun.

When we first meet our main character, Tally Youngblood, she is alone, because her best friend, Peris, has already become a Pretty. Peris is only about 4 months older than Tally, but that means 4 months of solitude, since only Pretties can live in Pretty-ville, where Peris lives. Tally is forced to remain Ugly until her 16th birthday, when she can finally join her friend.

Then, Tally meets Shay, who opens her eyes through "Ugly tricks" to the outside world. Shay doesn't believe in the Pretty operation, and tries to convince an unwilling Tally to run away and, gasp, remain Ugly forever. When Tally refuses, and Shay runs away alone, Tally's dream of being Pretty is soon held over her head and she is forced to choose between two best friends...being with Peris forever, or betraying Tally.

I love this series not just because it's a dystopian novel, but also because of the whole concept. When I first started reading, I kept trying to imagine an Ugly, imagining just how ugly they really were until I realize that I'm an Ugly. We all are, because Uglies are normal looking. It's the Pretties that are abnormal, and, as Shay says constantly, all look the same. It's fascinating to me, the control the city holds, and the price they put on beauty.

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