Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Uglies - Scott Westerfeld (Uglies Series #1)

My friend Sara works with junior high kids, and she always has great insight into what the kids are reading and enjoying. She first recommended this series to me when I visited her in November. Then, my brother-in-law Mark who is an expert in all things science-fiction also recommended it. With so many trustworthy thumbs up, I could not wait for the book to arrive for me at the library. The Uglies takes place in a futuristic society where everyone is an Ugly until they turn 16. At that point, they undergo radical surgery to make themselves into a "Pretty." Pretties are simply perfect - their eyes sparkle with 20/20 vision, they're in amazing shape, and all they seemingly do all day is drink champagne and contemplate the amazing parties they attend. Tally, like all her ugly classmates, just can't wait to be pretty. But, a couple months before her 16th birthday, Tally meets Shay - they become fast friends, and Shay confesses that she has no intention of becoming a Pretty. Instead, she is running off into the wild to live among a rogue society of individuals who live in the "Smoke" and shun everything being Pretty entails. Tally is beside herself, but ultimately feels forced to find out what this fringe group is all about. The Uglies follows Tally's journey to the Smoke, the development of her relationship with their seeming leader David, and her struggle to figure out what is most important - being true to herself, or being pretty. In terms of Young Adult fiction, I found this book pretty captivating - and I am eager to borrom the next book in the series. It is more seriously written and has slightly less inane dialogue than the Twilight series, but not quite as lit-worthy as The Hunger Games series. Lots of great themes and issues to discuss with young readers, and well worth a couple hours of my time.

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