It is a lot better than some of the other YA books I've read, because it doesn't resort to graphic violence, swearing, or any of the eyebrow-raising content you mentioned. I rate it PG-13 for futuristic setting, mild if any swearing (I couldn't remember reading any bad words, especially not any that took God's name in vain), and brief mention of ***ual content. It's near the beginning, and they didn't use that word at all. All it mentioned were these "pleasure gardens that were scattered about New Pretty Town, and how people could disappear into it. That's why they called them pleasure gardens" (Not exact quote)
I hope this helps, from one conservative reader to another. It's rare to find good books that don't resort to any graphic content, but here it is! A lot better than the (bleep) laden Meg Cabot books that I stopped reading. :)
I've read Pretties and I am going to be reading Specials soon. Pretties is probably a little worse than Uglies, when it comes to sexual content. It isn't bad, but I suppose it would depend on age. But it isn't graphic, it just indicates that things have been going on. And the laungage is still incredibly mild, and it's appropriate in my opinion. :)
My question is appropriate for what age? How mature is the individual reader? For what purpose? For home, to put in a public library, a school library? It really depends. I agree with the comments that it isn't explicit and the language is fine. The trilogy is a great exposure to girls (middle school age) who will otherwise not go near science fiction.
The Twilight series is another trilogy that alludes to things happening but is never explicit in detail (the author takes a stance on wanting to have a book that is not all about sex and drinking). However, if you object to vampires and otherworld content, this may not be the right series for you.
I am very conservative and found this book to be nearly harmless - surprising in YA literature. It is definitely YA - not children's lit. due to a romantic encounter that involves a kiss - that's it. There are other passages about pretties' behavior that, as an adult, I wondered what it was referring to, so they are definitely veiled enough for a young reader and the behavior, while initially admired is later brought into question. I would not object to my 13 year old reading it, but it does delve into the boy/girl attraction/crush interactions. The first step the couple took, in this case however, was to make an introduction to loving parents - a very unusual concept in teen romance. It presents healthy parental relationships, friendship, ethical decisions, and questions society's emphasis on the standard of "prettiness." It was an awesome book!
I am 13 and I was still that age when I read this book. I think you should be at least 11 to read it, and for Pretties and Specials, maybe a little older. For Extras, you should be at least 11, same as Uglies. Extras was my favorite of the series.
There's nothing inappropriate about the first book; in fact it will read better with a younger audience. Does end on a cliffhanger, so be prepared to feel like you have to read the next book(s). I'm a little concerned about the next two books since they have a "clique" called "The Cutters" -- you do get the sense that people are worried about them, but it goes way too far in the 3rd book.
All the books have a lot of action, but I think much of it is filler. The main story line gets off track in the second and third books; there are a lot of adventures that don't seem necessary to the main plot, which becomes pretty convoluted. Made my head spin.
Really not worth the read; certainly not worth the cost on kindle.