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Book Review: Uglies by Scott Westerfield

I borrowed this book from the library because I couldn’t wait for the friend I was going to borrow it from to get back from Australia. I was about to say I’m glad I did, but because it ended with a cliffhanger, I kind of wish I’d waited :) Now I have to wait to borrow the rest of the books in the series..

Anyway, the book is about a young girl named Tally who is living in a post-apocalyptic future where everyone gets major reconstructive surgery to look “pretty” as soon as they turn 16. But of course things don’t turn out the way she hopes and she has to decide whether to betray her friend and get the operation she wants or to stay “ugly” forever.

This book has it all: romance, adventure, plot twists, and unforgettable characters. My only problem with it though was that I didn’t like the premise as much as I thought I would. I felt that the whole being a “Pretty” versus being an “Ugly” thing was more heavy-handed and moralizing than I would have liked. And I got more than a little annoyed at just the repetition of the words “Uglies” and “Pretties”. Everything in the world seemed to carry one of these names and it became quite wearing. I also disliked one of the reveals that we learn halfway through the book.***

But once I got past that, the book really did take hold. I really love how the author isn’t afraid to be mean to his main character (something I’m trying to do in my own writing). Bad things happen to her and some of them are her own fault, and this serves to really suck you in to the story just to find out how (or if) Tally gets out of trouble.

I really hope my friend gets back from Australia soon so I can borrow the rest of the series

***major spoiler alert**** okay, so the Pretties turn out to have damage done to their brains as part of the operation! What?! To me this reads as: it’s better to be ugly because pretty people are stupid. Oh, unless you have a “thinking” job like surgeon or police officer. Sigh. This was just one step too far for me, though I think the author just meant it to be a stronger motivation behind not wanting to get the operation.

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