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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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Tally's story continues from the previous book, UGLIES, in this second installment of Scott Westerfeld's futuristic trilogy. Tally is now a pretty who lives only for good times. While attending a party at which she is to be voted into the Crims clique, she is followed by someone appearing to be a member of the ominous Special Circumstances team.
Tally can only remember her previous adventures as an ugly outside New Pretty Town in brief disconnected snatches. She is shocked to discover that the person stalking her is Croy, an old friend from the Smoke. He has something for her, he tells her, but she must search for it later in a certain secret spot. She agrees, bemused by his repellant ugliness, including his big pores and tangled hair --- all the imperfections that the surgery to become a pretty transforms to beauty.
Tally returns to her pretty life, concentrating on the fun she has with her friends. Her peace is disrupted when gorgeous Zane, leader of the Crims, asks her about David, whom she loved when she lived in the Smoke. In fact, Zane once knew Croy and had been determined to escape to the Smoke before his surgery. He regrets that he didn't go into the wilderness then.
Zane is eager to accompany Tally in finding the mysterious object Croy has hidden for her. They must face strenuous, dangerous physical challenges in order to locate the gift, which is accompanied by a startling and eye-opening letter from Tally to herself, written before she underwent the pretty surgery and explaining to her future self her motive in becoming a pretty --- to save all the pretties. Zane and Tally also learn that the pretties' brains are altered during their surgery.Read more ›
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