Thursday, January 14, 2010
Pretties - Scott Westerfeld (Uglies Series #2)
I had a conversation recently with my brother about the main purpose of reading. He assumed that as an English major, I must have lofty goals, such as finding deeper meanings and analyzing sentence structure. It's possible I should have been embarrassed, but I readily admit that my main purpose in reading is pure entertainment. Of course, I am impressed when someone introduces a new way of storytelling, and there are days when I marvel at an author's writing style. But, mostly, I'm always on the hunt for exciting stories that remind me why I fell in love with books in the first place. For this reason, I particularly enjoy reading Young Adult novels - learning what the next generation is reading, and hoping that in an age of iphones and the Wii, that there are still books out there to capture their attention. Pretties is the second book in Westerfeld's addictive series featuring Tally Youngblood. This time around the plastic surgeons have gotten their hands on Tally and turned her pretty. In her new life filled with costume parties, champagne, and fun, Tally must struggle to remember the reason she agreed to become pretty in the first place - to undermine a government attempt to turn questioning citizens into mindless drones. As a female protagonist, I find Tally strong and opinionated which I really appreciate. At the same time, Westerfeld introduces a romantic lead for Tally, at the expense of her female friendships and her confidence, a move that I find questionable. Given the subject matter of the series - "ugly" people being turned "pretty" - there are subtle and not so subtle messages about judging people's worth based on appearances, which can make for an uncomfortable read at times. But, Westerfeld raises important issues that are clearly at the forefront of the minds of YA readers, and I look forward to reading the next two books in the series to see how it all works out.