Scott Westerfeld's teen novels include the Uglies series, the Leviathan and Midnighters trilogies, and the so-called "NYC Trilogy": So Yesterday, Peeps, and The Last Days. Scott was born in Texas, and alternates summers between Sydney, Australia, and New York City. His next book, Afterworlds, comes out September 23, 2014.
I remember when I was first considering buying the book Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, I was disinclined to purchase it. I thought the title was stupid and the book would get preachy, with a warmed-over, tweaked, brave-new-world feel. I bought it because I couldn't find anything better that I hadn't read. I was pleasantly surprised. While I found his characters shallow at first, the book sucked me in until I couldn't put it down.
Then the long wait for Pretties began. I checked Amazon regularly and ran out to buy it as soon as it hit the shelves, and I read the whole thing the night I bought it. It's not quite as exciting as Uglies, because all the really big revelations have already been unveiled. I liked the characters a lot better this time around. Their dialogue felt a lot more believable. There are some pretty thrilling close-shaves and a few plans that don't go perfectly, which is refreshing and real.
Westerfeld uses this book to explore the other side of his characters' world a bit, not as much why they rebel, but a lot of why the powers that be made the world that way in the first place. I find the Pretties' lifestyle a lot more boring than the Smokies', but I now see that Westerfeld's characters in the first book were so shallow because they had to be. In the world they lived in, there was nothing to encourage depth. Westerfeld has turned out to be a much better writer than I originally thought.
I'm bursting to say more but I don't want to ruin it for people still reading. Just know that this book provided an incredible setup for the last book, Specials.
I'd recommend it to anyone who likes a good sci-fi story, or a story where kids actually accomplish things.
Pretties picks up where Uglies left off. Tally has been turned pretty and dull-witted. Tally loves the pretty life of partying, drinking, and doing whatever she wants. She has a lot of fun with it, until one day at a costume party, she sees someone in a specials costume, and she starts feeling like something's not right with her world. Together with Zane, another pretty, Tally must track down the clue to her past as an ugly. When she does though, the repercussions of her choices afterward will continue long into the book. As Tally remembers the truth, she tries to figure out a way to help the other pretties and to save herself and Zane as well.
Pretties was a little slow to start out, but turned out decent. It would have been good, had it not been for "bubbly." One word, repeated practically every page for the first two-thirds of the book, that drove me batty. You see, bubbly was slang for any number of meanings including, but not limited to: impressive, exhilarating, fashionable, cool, cute, interesting, smart, happy, buzzed, weird, daring, exciting, alert, rational, nervous, calm, thrilling, shocking, good, intelligent, trustworthy, rewarding, conscious, intense, riled up, cognizant, and aware. It was such a pain trying to figure out what bubbly meant in each situation, and it distracted from the story and grated on my nerves. Other than that, the story was good.
Pretties is a pageturner. I stayed up late and woke up early to finish it, and immediately went to see if the third book in the trilogy, Specials, is available yet. (Sadly, no.)
Though it may not be quite as original as Uglies, this book does a better job of presenting moral ambiguities. Everything is not quite black-and-white good versus evil. The city that has become a prison, for example, was created for a pretty valid reason. The wardens are genuinely kind. Characters switch from ally to enemy and back again.
Start with the first book, Uglies, then read this one. The plot twists keep coming right until the very end, and the characters are dynamic. A swift, exciting read.
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Last time we left Tally, she was demanding the pretty operation so she could test the pills that theoretically remove the lesions from your brain. The Specials were only too happy to comply, and now Tally's a pretty, the world nothing but a drunken haze, a source of entertainment. Possibly worse is the fact that she has only the dimmest memories of David, Special Circumstances, or why she's a pretty at all. And if you ask anybody at New Pretty Town, Tally "rescued" Shay from The Smoke. Of course, none of this bothers Tally. She's having the time of her life being beautiful, perpetually happy, and one of the Crims, her new clique. Especially when Zane, Tally's new crush, is the leader of the Crims. After a few months of this, though, the fun stops. An old Smokie friend, Croy shows up at a party, giving Tally instructions to get to, "something important". Even though she has no clue what's going on, Tally follows Croy's directions, because, after all,"everything was always ultra safe in New Pretty Town. Otherwise pretties would be killing themselves left and right." Zane, who seems to have taken an interest in Tally, comes too. The important thing turns out to be a letter Tally wrote to herself back in her ugly days, and two lesion-killing pills. Tally's afraid of the possible psychological effects the pills might have, so she and Zane split, each having one. And for a while(alas, in the life of Tally Youngblood, happiness can never last longer than a while)everything is great. Life is no longer a blur, and Zane's physical abilities are greatly enhanced. That is, until he starts having headaches, crippling migraines that put him out for hours, racking him with unbearable pain.Read more ›
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