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on 13 September 2016
This book has a very interesting premise, we live in such a looks obsessed society that it is not too hard to believe that people in a future society would want to live in world where they can be cosmetically altered to astetic perfection and also be rewarded for that change with a wonderful party life style, until they are too old to justify it.

The lead character Tally is an ugly and very near her sixteenth birthday when she will be operated on. She is looking forward to it and is really missing her childhood friend who has already moved to pretty town. She makes a last foray to the town to visit her friend and meets another ugly while out and about. The two become friends quickly and it is then that Tally's life changes direction because she unwillingly becomes a pawn in a larger game and also has to ultimately question the status quo.

I really enjoyed the adventures that Tally and her friends going on and the deeper issues involved which again resonated regarding the kind of control our societies may want to impose on us. I thought it was a very well thought out plot and mad it very easy to follow and imagine as the reader.

I think anyone who has enjoyed the dystopian triologies that have recently been so successful will also enjoy this too. I think also what gives this more credit is the lack of violence and it is not too futuristic. There is definitely a solid grounding in reality.
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on 10 August 2017
Uglies is a really interesting Dystopian Novel. Great for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent series, those who want another book linked to the controlling government regimes but want something a little different. Well this book is exactly that, a little different. Uglies follows A society which separates you into two categories, uglies and pretties. You are an ugly until you reach of age to have the pretties surgery, in a time filled with cosmetic surgery this is something that is really interesting.

Uglies has action, romance and all the good Dystopian elements too!
Definitely worth a read!
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on 17 February 2015
In a world where people are segregated into Uglies and at 16 are surgically turned into Pretties and moved into a town across the water, Westerfield does a brilliant job of exploring our obsessions with perfection. It's a world in the future where our generation have already failed and evidence of our own tampering lives on. There is a dark secret lurking beneath the pretty exterior as you'd expect in a novel though and one that leaves you cold but one that can easily be imagined if you believe the world you are reading into.

This is the first book in a trilogy and it left me in a place screaming to know more. I will definitely be reading the next book Pretties.

Why didn't it get 5 stars then? I know it's a YA book, but some of the language used was repetetive and childish. The use of Uglies and Pretties was fair enough, but then there were crumblies for old people, littlies for young, rusties for our generation and so on. Everthing ending in IES.. BUT then there were beautiful sentences in there - "Don't worry Tally" she whispered, putting one elegant finger to her lips. "Your ugly little secret is safe with me." - A sentence that holds so much more than it lets on unless you read the book.

It is a great concept and I fully intend to find out how it ends.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 September 2014
I read “Afterworlds” recently, the new novel coming soon (Sept 25th 2014) from Scott Westerfeld and enjoyed it so much that I basically went out and purchased his backlist. I started here with “Uglies” the first part of a trilogy, set in a dystopian future world where looks are everything. Or are they?

In the world that Tally lives in, a world devastated by we are not sure what, when you turn 16 you are operated on and turned “Pretty”. All flaws are removed, your features are changed and you become fairly generically beautiful. After which you go to one long life party. Sounds fantastic right? Yeah, well not so much perhaps….

When Tally meets Shay and finds out there is a whole world out there she knew nothing about, she is torn between two lives and ends up having to make some devastating decisions. And therein lies the beauty (yes that was on purpose) of this story.

The thing about “Uglies” is that so much of it could come to pass – in a world where everyone looks the same, supposedly no-one will fight over differences. When you are spending your time drinking eating and being merry, you do not think too much about how controlled your life actually is, how every decision has been made for you. I liked the exploration of that idea, the standard YA premise of a government that controls the masses to their own ends but with a great take on it and a depth that was very entertaining and often fascinating.

In this particular case it is the strength of the characterisation that made it for me. Tally is horrifically shallow when we first meet her, and she struggles with the concept that beauty cannot be defined by how far apart your eyes are, or your body mass or anything else. She rejects it utterly, is fully supportive of the rules of her society and is not immediately persuaded that there could be a different way to live. She simply cannot imagine ANYONE not wanting to turn Pretty. Shay is a perfect foil for this inner turmoil, she wants to choose her own destiny, but as things move forward you may find yourself wondering which of the pair is actually the shallow one, a clever little twist on the original premise. Add to these various supporting characters both within the world of the “Uglies” and outside of it and there are some really intriguing themes explored here.

Putting all that aside, it is also a terrific adventure, a really run read, the world building is subtle and forms around the characters rather than the other way around and there are some surprising moments that make you stop for a while and ponder. The story flows extremely well, and the ending will leave you looking forward to “Pretties” the next in the trilogy and one that I shall certainly be onto as soon as time allows.

Highly Recommended for fans of YA Dystopia, both teenagers and adults, there is something for everyone.

Happy Reading Folks!

**Source: Purchased Copy***
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on 11 December 2012
Despite the name, Uglies is anything but. A fantastic book, with twists and turns and characters that everyone can relate to.

Tally and Shay are `uglies'. Everyone under the age of 15 is. When they turn 16 they undergo an operation to become `pretty'. The pretties have everything the uglies want, besides the obvious beauty, they party all day and night and are perfect in everyday. Granted this doesn't sound like the most thrilling of concepts, but Westerfield has managed to stay away from the obvious and has created two lead females that are strong, independent and often selfish. There are no `goodies and badies' (for lack of a better term) in uglies. In fact the reader follows Tally on her journey and never know if she's right or wrong.

It's been a while since I have read a book with two female leads that I really like, too often the girls are painted as the weaklings that fall in love and are blinded to everything else. There's no place for that in Westerfields writing, the plot is too busy and exciting. That's not to say there isnt romance in the book, it's just not the main focus of the story, friendship is. I can happily say that Tally and Shay are two of my all time favourite characters in modern YA fiction. The following 3 books are entertaining and whilst not as good as the first, still excellent writing with twists and turns galore. Must reads.
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VINE VOICEon 8 March 2008
This is a clever, fast-paced and exciting novel that takes the current pre-occupation with beauty and jumps forward several hundred years to create a world wherein almost everyone gets an operation at the age of 16 to make them Pretty.

Scott Westerfeld envisages a cataclysmic event in the near future where the genetic mutation of oil sets off a chain of events that kills millions of people (known in the future as Rusties) and destroys cities. In Tally's world, people live in split cities, with the Pretties living in a non-stop partyland of appartment blocks and firework displays and the Uglies (those waiting until they turn 16 and can get the operation to turn Pretty) who live in dorm buildings, dreaming of how they will look after the op and offsetting their humdrum lives by playing tricks. On her way back from trying to see her friend Peris in New Pretty Town, Tally meets Shay, a girl who shares her birthday. Whilst they're waiting for the operation, they form a friendship wherein Shay teaches Tally to hoverboard and takes her out to the ruins of the Rusties' world to ride the tracks of a rollercoaster on their hoverboards. As their friendship deepends, Shay confides in Tally about the existence of a place called the Smoke (where people live who don't want to turn Pretty) and of David, a boy who can take them there. Unlike Shay however, Tally dreams of being Pretty and refuses to join Shay in searching for the Smoke. It's only after Shay runs away one night, leaving cryptic instructions on how to find her that Tally starts to learn about the more sinister side of New Pretty Town and the existence of Special Circumstances, modified and cruel Pretties who force her to find and betray her friend.

Westerfeld's writing is slick and tense and he effortlessly introduces the reader to his central concepts without ever going into turgid passages of exposition. I found it very easy to believe in Tally and her dilemma, not least because Westerfeld first introduces Tally's friend Peris who has already turned Pretty and who was Tally's best friend whilst they were both Uglies. Tally's search for the Smoke could have been long and drawn out, but Westerfeld keeps it fast-moving and whilst he places Tally in danger, he never over-eggs the pudding and also takes the opportunity to introduce further elements of world building - I particularly liked the idea of genetically modified orchids spreading out over the world, destroying the ecosystems and needing to be constantly flamed and beaten back by Rangers. I also loved his depictions of bungy jackets, hoverboards and belly sensors, all of which could easily have descended into MacGuffins in lesser hands but which never stop being convinving. Particularly poignant is his look back at the world in which we live in, and whilst I think his depiction of anorexia was a little too in-passing to be effective, it's nevertheless reassuring to read a book that does not equate being Pretty with being thin.

The Specials are an intimidating and cruel bunch and whilst I would have liked to see a bit more about Dr Cable beyond cold cruelty, the set-up is there for more development in the rest of the quartet, which I'm very much looking forward to reading. In fact, the way Westerfeld ends the book is a superb example of a how to handle a cliffhanger whilst resolving the initial storyline. None of the characters are left dangling on the page and you feel as though you've read a great story whilst also wanting to find out what will happen next to David, Tally and Shay. The only picky thing I can think of to say is that I wonder why Tally is so sure that her plan will work given what's already happened between her and Special Circumstances, which would seem to me to suggest that it couldn't. However like I said, it's a picky thing to say and it certainly isn't enough to put me off reading the rest. All in all, it's an excellent read and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
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on 11 November 2009
I loved this series. Starting with Uglies, Pretties, Specials and ending with Extras, it takes you to a dystopian, post-scarcity future where city-states use a strange class system based on extreme surgery altered people and their age (uglies are pre-16 year olds, pretties are young people, middle pretties are, i guess middle aged and crumblies are older people). The heroine, Tally Youngblood is a bit vague at start, and it is interesting to take the trip with her to self-realisation against all odds. Tally is conforming at first, though she is a thrill seeker to a degree, and slowly the seeds of rebellion and doubt about the "plastic" society that is enforced uniformally on everyone appear. We follow her path to realisations about the system, herself, her friends, as the story develops. Book 2 and 3 follow her story, and book 4 (Extras) has another heroine, though Tally appears too.
Extras is really sci-fi set in a really futuristic Japan. I loved the strange and innovative use of words that culminates in the 4th book: dizzy-making instead of dizzying; nervous-making instead of..i dont know. Its fresh and different and Westerfields' imagination with hovercams and technology is limitless. I loved the concept of "hoverboards" like surf boards that move on magnetic grids, i would love to live in this universe.
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on 28 June 2013
I bought this book because I loved its premise - upon a person's 16th birthday, they are turned from 'ugly' (read: normal), to 'pretty', in an operation that maximises their evolutionary appeal and usefulness, with ceramic teeth and perfect vision. It's set 100 years in the future; people in today's society are known as 'rusties', with pollution having wiped the majority of us out, and things such as anorexia having been abolished with the new government's operation.

At first, I thought probably wasn't the best start for me. I think my own perspective on physical inadequacy (in that I love the idea of being made beautiful, with all the fat sucked out and no health problems) meant that I was rooting for Tally to get the operation she wanted, even though I could tell something wasn't quite right. This turned out not to matter though - you're supposed to root for Tally, and I think what I was feeling was the confusion she was going through.

Around halfway, I was thoroughly swept away, and was really disappointed that I wasn't able to buy the next book straight away (as there was no internet where I was staying). The cliffhanger at the end of the book is really effective - I was so invested in Tally that I really wanted to read on. The world in the book was different to anything I've read before, and I really enjoyed reading about things like hoverboards and bungee jackets, not to mention imagining the pretties and specials.

I think it's a contemporary, teenage version of 1984, in that the government is watching (if not as openly as in George Orwell's book) and is very happy to tamper with people's minds to make them conform. Even though the book is all about becoming 'pretty' - which is what attracted me, and will doubtless attract many others - it's a subtle message that looking that good isn't all it's cracked up to be, and can sometimes come at a price. I really enjoyed it.
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on 1 November 2013
This is definitely a romance novel aimed at teenage girls and had so much potential to be good. Sadly the plot takes a quick dip, quite similar to the weird hover boards that the main characters travel on at certain points in the book. I couldn't believe the extensive range of further novels written to continue the story and the fact that this is planned to become a motion picture (no doubt straight to dvd)- I'll save you the time and money and say don't buy this rubbish.
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on 29 August 2016
My daughter is 10 and has instructed me to write a 5 star review saying she couldn't put it down. It only took her 4 days to read and she went out and bought the second in the series and persuaded me to buy the one after along with another series of this genre.
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