47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
UGLIES is one of the best children's SF novels I've come across for a year, and as it will get nothing out of its publishers but word-of-mouth I strongly recommend you buy it if you have a daughter going through puberty, because it dramatises the sick, looks-obsessed world we live in like nothing else. Tally can't wait until she's 16 and can be changed by plastic surgery into a Pretty, whose life like that of her best friend, will be filled with parties and fashionable clothes. In the future, everyone looks like a supermodel, and nobody stops to think whether this is a good thing - after all, there are no more wars, are there? But when Tally's new friend Shay takes off to live with the rebel Uglies, Tally is told she will never be made Pretty unless she follows the cryptic directions her friend left for her and betrays the rebels. This Tally is all set to do - until she not only falls in love but discovers just what the surgery awaiting her will do to her brain as well as her body.
Uglies is a really clever and pertinent dystopian fantasy of a kind that asks children whether they really want to give up their individuality to become a blandly perfect being. Exciting, fast-paced and easy to read it tackles the propaganda pumped out by glossy magazines and shows how ugly extreme beauty would be.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 11 April 2011
I was really looking forward to reading this book when I bought it, I thought the concept seemed really interesting. However for me it wasn't anything special. It wasn't awful, it had a decent plot and I liked how it confronted how society is obsessed with being 'beautiful', but I found myself not really caring about the characters. I'm 18 and I'm guessing this book is probably aimed at a very slightly younger age group than me. I'm not normally a person to nitpick at books but some things in this book just seemed to come far too easily to the characters, and I never really worried about the characters survival either, it just seemed like a given that the main ones were going to survive.
Overall it was a decent book but I didn't find it anything special. It'd probably be better suited for ages 10-16.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I picked this up based on dozens of recommendations from friends and people on the internet, and it's one of the best YA Dystopian Novels I've ever read (and I've read a lot!).
Uglies, the first in a quartet of books, is set in a fairly distant future, after some cataclysm destroys the world in which we modern day people (referred to as Rusties in the book) live. The world is now split into many smaller cities, in which people are segregated according to their age: until you are 11, you are a "littlie" and live with your parents; from 12 to 15 you are an "ugly" and live in a dorm with other young teenagers; and from 16 onwards you are a "pretty" (new, middle, or late depending on your age) and live with other pretties.
The protagonist is Tally Youngblood, who has just lost her best friend because he turned 16 a few months before she did, and thus has already had the prettifying operation and been moved into New Pretty Town. Tally has been left behind in Uglyville, but she soon makes a new friend (Shay), who happens to have the exact same birthday as Tally. This initially fills both girls with excitement, as it means neither will be left behind. Or does it?
Shay runs away, and Tally has to choose whether or not to follow her. Her choice will change everything.
The book is, simply, fantastic. The characters are more interesting and three-dimensional than those in 90 % of other YA books I've read, and the discussions of what beauty is are rather breathtakingly deep. You'd think it would be very simple - an operation to make everyone look the same sounds horrifying! - but there are some fabulous arguments regarding the body image of Rusties that make it sound almost reasonable. There are also some very interesting themes regarding friendship, love, loyalty, and conformity.
Although this is the first book in a quartet, it works completely as a stand-alone - the end is open, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dystopian novels in any regard, and to anyone who ever thinks that the way we treat beauty in our society might be a bit messed up.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2006
'Uglies' is a truly fantastic read. An incredibly fast-paced thriller of a story,where every moment is valued. Having not read sci-fi before,I was expecting hordes of alien tribes to come cavorting through a galaxy in outer space at some point, but instead, as I read on, I found only a really satisfying, thought-provoking tale of unnatural beauty and its vices.
Tally Youngblood lives in a world where she gets everything she wants and more, what with the miraculous turnover from ugly to pretty at the age of sixteen. Her perfect world remains in its bubble until she meets Shay, an intriguing new character who changes Tally's life forever, leading her on a strange adventure in which she encounters smokies, specials and learns what really happens in the operation theatre. The novel ends with a shocking cliff hanger which has left me waiting anxiously for the next book in Scott Westerfeld's powerfully written trilogy.
I thoroughly enjoyed 'Uglies' and would highly recomend it to other pre-teen girls like myself.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2011
I'm always up for a good dystopian novel and I'd heard from pretty much everybody in the blogosphere that Uglies is one of the best. Yes, yes it is.
Tally Youngblood is our heroine here. Desperate to become Pretty and join her best friend Peris in a life of partying, having fun and generally being beautiful, Tally is counting down the days until her sixteenth birthday, when she can turn her back on being Ugly forever. At last. She's spent years perfecting what she wants her new face to look like and is determined that nothing will stop her becoming Pretty. That is, until she strikes up a friendship with Shay, a girl who is due to turn Pretty on the same day as she is.
Together Tally and Shay spend their last few weeks of being Ugly breaking all the rules but things take a serious turn when Tally takes Shay out of the city borders and away from everything she knows. Shay tells her that you don't have to become Pretty. You can stay Ugly and stay true to yourself. She tells her about a group of people who never became Pretty and, instead, started a new settlement where people are free to think and be who they want to be. She's made the decision to go with David, the enigmatic leader of these people and asks Tally to go with her.
When Tally is given an ultimatum - either find Shay or stay Ugly forever - she leaves in search of Shay and her new people. However, what she finds on her journey changes everything she ever thought she knew about her world.
Tally is a wonderful heroine. She's so likeable and is definitely one of the most memorable characters I've come across in a long time. She's sweet but not a pushover and she delivers some brilliant lines. She's also very real. Her actions are 100% believable and I found it so easy to suspend by disbelief and get carried away by the story, despite the fantastical elements.
I haven't read the rest of the series yet but Pretties is looking at me now from my bookshelf so I'm definitely going to dive into it soon. Surely an Uglies film must be on the horizon soon? If done well, I think it could be phenomenal.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2008
Whilst I see that the simplicity of the writing makes this book ideal for pre-teens and early teens, at 19 I also enjoyed it. It tackles important issues about appearance and society's warped view of it, as well as the 1984-esque probe that we cannot always trust those in authority. It is ultimately about individuality, encouraging readers to think for themselves, just as in other dystopian novels.
The intriguing plot and fast-paced action aside, the characters kept me hooked. Tally is wonderful: she is easy to sympathise with, yet it is obvious to readers that she makes mistakes too. Especially in Pretties and Specials, she develops and becomes even more real. I love these books and I'll definitely read them time and time again, and recommend them to my friends.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2006
On reading reviews of this book it seems only aimed at young teenage girls. As I am a 19 year old myself I also found this book fantastic. I couldn't put it down. I found it such as interesting read for in the insight it can give into the perception of beauty. I belive this book can be enjoyed by older and younger teens alike as they will see different things within the book. I came away with desperate to read the second book. I recommend it to all. My boyfriend is also currently enjoying reading it, so maybe it's not just for us girls?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 May 2014
Uglies is the first novel in a new futuristic series set after an apocalyptic-disaster that reshaped the world and follows the life of Tally, a fifteen year old 'ugly' who lives to be a 'pretty.' In this new society, humans travel by hover-boards, can access anything they want through a hole in their wall and live as 'uglies' until they reach sixteen, when every person goes through extreme cosmetic surgery to make them 'pretty.' The uglies and pretties live separately in dorm rooms in private towns, in the center of the 'burbs' where the parents live.
Tally is about to turn sixteen and cannot wait to turn pretty, until she makes a new friend. Her new friend, Shay, doesn't want to become pretty and is very keen on exploring the ruins of the old cities ran by 'rusties' (the people of today's society - you and me) and living life away from the sheltered community they currently live in.
I've read a lot of contradicting opinions on the book, but mine is fairly straight forward. I really enjoyed reading this book and I can't wait to read the others in the series. The story, in my opinion, was well written and whilst slow at times, was entertaining throughout. It isn't a difficult read, it's quite simple to follow and can be read within a short period of time. If you look deeper into the book, there is a social commentary present and it made me question the ways in which we see ourselves as a society and the impact appearance has on our daily lives. I would definitely recommend reading this book as it's entertaining and an interesting concept to think about.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2013
When I read the words `cat vomit` in the first sentence of Westerfeld's book, as he described the colour of the sky, I remember thinking: I hope this is not a taste of what is to come. But nothing came to merit those words, lest it be the opposition of ugliness to a standardised notion of beauty that underlies the book. I wonder why the author used them, especially in his opening sentence.
Writing Uglies must have been a challenge for Scott Westerfeld. Challenge? The difficulty is inherent in the central theme of the book: the glorification of a standarised canon of beauty imposed by surgical intervention. All teenagers, who are universally called uglies, have come to despise their appearance and yearn for the beauty they will have once they are sixteen and are operated on to make them "pretty". It is not easy to write a story in which most of the population's appearance and behaviour have been normalised such that there are few distinguishing features. There's a sort of faceless grin or grimace to the world. Even the baddies, when they finally erupt on the stage, look alike. No wonder the main character, Tally, and her new-found ugly friend, swim in a sea of faceless people at the beginning of the book. This narrowness of perspective and the flippancy of the two girls makes holding the reader's attention more difficult.
The story did however hold my attention from the beginning, although I did wonder what it was that gave it more rounded edges than many a dystopian novel. I suspect this is partly because the threats and dangers are only hinted at but are not personified or made present in the first part of the story. It is as if the girls can get away with anything without being caught (despite narrow scrapes). Nothing matters. They'll all be pretty soon.
The situation changes radically when Tally is forced to leave her shallow world and has to deal with people who have depth to their personalities and meaning to their lives, despite their `ugly' faces. Even the baddies take on a tangible form and their threat becomes real. From that turning point onwards the story picks up speed and breadth and the reader is carried away by its intensity. The contrast between these two parts of the book is its key articulation and therein lies the difficulty: how do you portray shallowness and flippancy at the outset, without leaving the impression that the story itself is superficial and discouraging the reader from continuing. Westerfeld took the risk and it paid off. A story well worth reading.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 February 2013
I'd seen it in the shops a lot but always turned it down based on the cover and title, it looked too girly for me, of course when it popped up for Book of the Month in one of my Goodread groups I read the synopsis for once and decided it was worth trying out. When I read this I hadn't read much, if any, of this genre or style before which really helped with my positive attitude towards it, with it being completely different to anything I'd read in the past I was sucked into Westerfeld's world and loved almost every moment he provided. At the start I really enjoyed the relationship between Tally and Shay, seeing how they developed and grew as a pair was fantastic but I must say I felt like I related more to Tally because becoming a Pretty didn't seem like too much of an issue to myself. Upon the introduction of the Special Circumstances you start to become aware that there is a lot of secrets and hidden facts of the Pretties world and they don't half sound scary. Whilst I'm not an outdoors-y type, I really enjoyed reading about Tally travelling to The Smoke, I loved the descriptions of the world we got to see through Tally's eyes and her experiencing all these new things that we take for advantage and do day to day if we so wished and it just opened your eyes to the beauty of the world surrounding them yet they're taught how much evil potential it holds. Tally's time at The Smoke also held very similar feelings for me cause whilst I understood everything she was going through I had a small issue with seeing it as a good thing because I don't think I could handle living without a comfy bed and nice clean clothes daily, not to mention all the hard work too - in short I'd rather be a braindead Pretty because I'm that lazy ;_; that's bad huh? Any how I loved the freshness of this book and how it made me question a few things about myself and couldn't wait to dive into Pretties.