Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.
But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world -- and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.
Since I just re-read The Mortal Instruments series and I'm currently a new book away from starvation, I've decided to re-read another of my favorite series. Uglies is a dystopian novel (there seems to be a lot of these in YA lit recently...) about a society where everyone is considered ugly, until they turn 16, when they have the pretty operation, their only jobs being to party and continue the human race. Enter Tally, an average 15-year-old, anxiously awaiting her birthday, where she will join her best friend Peris in New Pretty Town, where he's already a 'pretty'. Enter Shay, another 15-year-old who isn't quite sure she wants to join the pretties on the other side of the river. As their friendship grows, Tally discovers Shay doesn't intend to ever have the pretty operation and when she runs away, Tally is accused of aiding Shay in her escape. The 'specials' that take Tally tell her she must find Shay and betray her in order to have her operation. Well, the premise is confusing, and one of my complaints was the lack of explanations until quite late in the story. But I absolutely loved the story line. And Westerfeld has a real knack for descriptions. So much is happening in this book that you almost miss all of the in-depth descriptions of the scenery. My favorite part of the book was the riddled poem Shay leaves Tally to find her, and in my opinion, the first half of the book was the best, as Tally travels across beautiful landscapes that humans have long-since abandoned. This series takes place several centuries in the future, and i appreciated the history given, since so many futuristic books skim over the details of how/why society has changed so. The second half, once Tally has found the rebels' encampment, was great, and I was most definitely in love with David. The whole book was great in general. The only other big complaint I had was that there was a startling lack of adults in the futuristic world; I get that they were separated, but it still seemed odd that there were practically none in New Pretty Town or Uglyville.
4 stars and a recommendation to fans of dystopian societies and futuristic science-fiction.