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Uglies
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on January 25, 2017
I absolutely recommend Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. I found it highly entertaining and thought provoking as well. It possessed a suspenseful, exciting plot that captures the reader’s attention. The novel tells a story about a teenage girl named Tally Youngblood who is an "ugly" and anxiously counts down the days until she turns sixteen and can transform into a "pretty". Her daring personality leads her on exhilarating adventures to places beyond the city's boundaries. Through people and events her life changes drastically and so do her opinions about becoming pretty.
The reader experiences a small part of Tally's journey through life and as the reader you become connected with her. Through the course of the book Tally blossoms from a rebellious teenager to a mature and selfless young adult within a few months. The reader is able to witness all the relationships that influence Tally and how they transform her and change her views.
Uglies encourages readers to reflect on their own lives and society and what effect the standard of pretty has on humans. The book expresses internal beauty’s importance and that there should be no standard for how people look. Looking at our own society similarities may appear concerning humanity’s obsession with pretty. You should read this book to see what revelation Tally makes, what Tally discovers about herself, and how this changes her life. (MQM)
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If you think the "photoshop disasters" of today make people insecure, you haven't seen anything anything yet. In the future, as portrayed in Uglies, we won't need such things as we'll be told almost from day one that we are, in fact, Ugly. But never fear, on our sixteenth birthdays we'll be fixed! Every scar we got in falling off our bikes as kids? Erased when they replace our skin with new perfect skin. Our bones molded and shaped to perfection. our eyes? The same. We'll be molded into something oh so pretty.

Unless, could the rumors be true? Could there be people who dare to live out in the ruins of the old world, aging naturally, and UGLY? Living as people used to do before we wised up and learned how to be so perfect?

This book examines how important it is for us all to not only look but also think differently. At what price does perfection come?

Yeah, yeah... a fictional book with messages. Not something everyone will like, but I don't usually like books tagged with "Science Fiction" and "Adventure" as much as I like books tagged with "Fantasy" and I loved this. So for this book to get 5 stars from me, it had to do something right.
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on July 27, 2014
I'd heard about this book about a million times before but it was only recently that I actually picked it up and read it. We follow the story of Tally Youngblood who lives in a world were being pretty is a matter of turning 16 and getting a surgery done, Tally can't wait to finally turn 16 and start her new life as a pretty in New Pretty Town. The summer before her birthday she meets a girl called Shay who thinks that the operation is total blasphemy and introduces Tally to the possibility of a life without the surgery, outside the city, little does Tally know that Shay was planning to escape, and once she does Tally is pulled in to a huge mess once the Special Circumstances of the city find out that she has directions on how to get to the place where her friend escaped.
I felt like Uglies was very fast paced but it rather proved my expectations of it being another dystopian cliché wrong. Tally Youngblood, the main character, was a very 3-dimensional character and she undergoes a lot of growth throughout the story, Tally just wants to stay under the radar at first and be a pretty and just forget about her ugly days but due to the circumstances she adopts a new way of thinking and starts allying herself with the people against the surgery. This book is a quick read and it's got secrets being unveiled in various chapters, I wish that the smoke, the place where the uglies escaped to had been explained a bit better and more characters should have been added. Characters such as Croy and the Boss could have been developed a bit more and this is where I think the author got a bit lazy, the rest of the characters were very well developed though.
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on June 29, 2017
I borrowed this book from the library at my school, which just happened to get it. It was awesome, one of the few great books I have read; and I've read a lot of books. I inquired about the second book and the librarians reasearched it for me: Pretties. It comes out later this year, I think. I can't wait. Anyone looking for a great read should pick up this book. It's got enticing characters, a great plot line, is very descriptive, and wonderfully put together.
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on August 4, 2013
In this version of the future, children are called "Uglies" from 12 till their 16th birthday and they live in dorms with the other Uglies. At 16 they undergo extreme plastic surgery (not just facial, whole body, perhaps even changing skin tone). Everyone is then a "Pretty". If everyone is pretty, then there will be more peace. The new Pretties (recently had surgery) spend their nights partying and their days sleeping it off. Tally is almost 16 and her best friend Peris has already been made pretty. She's lonely and when she visits him (an absolute no-no) he doesn't seem quite the same. However, she's got such a short time to wait. Then she meets Shay. Shay doesn't want to be a Pretty, she knows of a place where you can go and live off the grid and stay Ugly. Shay asks Tally to go with her, but Tally isn't interested. However, before she can have her surgery Special Circumstances informs her that she not only needs to find Shay, but lead them to the Uglies hide out.

Tally starts as a spy, but learns to love the Smoke (Uglies' hide out), and learns that there is something darker going on with the surgery beyond just making people pretty.

This book dwells a lot of perceptions of physical beauty. At times Tally seems incredibly shallow, but isn't she just a product of her world? I enjoyed reading this book and am ready to read book 2 to see where the story goes from here.
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on February 5, 2014
Many people say that this series is vain, or vapid because of some of the small details surrounding it, I highly disagree. I think this is a fun read that most people should experience, especially to open their minds.
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on March 30, 2012
Uglies is yet another one of those series I started without any idea of the plot (I have got to stop doing that. It's really going to backfire on me someday). All I knew was that it's yet another YA dystopian. I know, I know, the genre is flooded with mediocrity right now, but before you immediately tune out, let me just throw this out there: this one is actually good.

PLOT:

Uglies follows Tally Youngblood, a 15-year-old girl living in a futuristic society that has decided that the main thing wrong with the world is that attractive people have unfair advantages over the unattractive. The solution? Everyone undergoes cosmetic surgery on their 16th birthday, modifying all their facial and physical features to fit a common standard of perfect beauty.

Once the procedure is complete, these former "Uglies" are now allowed to live in beautiful cities with the "Pretties," where their every need is catered to via a hole in the wall (think replicators on Star Trek: TNG), and their only concern is what to wear to the next fabulous party.

Tally is eagerly awaiting her operation, passing her time with harmless pranks on the Pretties, until she meets Shay. Shay is also 15, and therefore also an Ugly. As a matter of fact, she and Tally share the same birthday, which means they will have their procedures at the same time.

The difference is that Shay doesn't want the procedure. And after unsuccessfully trying to convince Tally to run away with her, Shay disappears. All she leaves behind is a set of cryptic instructions, in case Tally wants to join her.

While Tally is concerned for Shay, she doesn't fluctuate in her desire to become a Pretty. She hopes Shay got what she wanted. But soon, Tally will get what she wants too.

However, on the day of Tally's procedure, she is presented with an awful choice: go find Shay, and the rebels she has run away with, or stay Ugly forever.

Thus begins Tally's journey to the Smoke, the secret rebel hideout that Shay has fled to. All Tally wants is to put this all behind her and become Pretty. Until she finds the Smoke, and starts to question everything she ever believed.

MY THOUGHTS:

I'll admit, I was a little wary about starting a series that revolves around being pretty. I mean seriously, how much more superficial can you get? I was prepared to be super-annoyed with the shallowness of it all.

But once I started reading, I found myself completely absorbed in Tally's world. Mr. Westerfeld actually made me understand how Tally would want nothing more in life than to become Pretty, and managed to do it without making me hate her. No small task.

There were a few things I could nitpick about the plot. The endless hoverboarding, for example, made me think someone bet Mr. Westerfeld that he couldn't write an entire book based off of the chase scene in Back to the Future II.

Also, I had a little bit of a hard time figuring out how anything actually got accomplished in this world. What I surmised was that the inhabitants of Uglyville go to school, then turn 16 and party hearty for a few years until they hit "Middle Pretty" age and actually start contributing something to society. Not that I could imagine any of them actually wanting to contribute, since it sounds like the Pretty lifestyle was the epitome of luxury and indulgence. Maybe you or I would get tired of living like that, but the Pretties don't seem to mind in the least.

Is a workforce consisting entirely of middle-aged ex-partiers (as it's implied that the elderly, or "Crumblies" -- ouch -- also do not work) enough to keep this advanced society running smoothly? Maybe not in the world you and I live in. In the world of Uglies, though, it works.

When it comes to YA fiction -- or any fiction, for that matter -- I can almost always poke holes in the logic of the world as it's written. The question I have to ask myself is, "Did I care?" If the answer is yes, it pulls me out of the story and diminishes my enjoyment of the book.

With Uglies, the answer was no. I didn't care that not everything made sense. What I cared about was Tally. Was she a perfect character? Heck no. She drove me nuts at times (this is also one of the main downfalls of reading YA lit, period. The protagonists are always teenagers. I am not). But she was fun to read about, her journey was exciting, and I couldn't put the book down until I knew what happened to her.
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on January 14, 2014
I recently finished reading Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. The thing I loved about Uglies was the story. That was the best part. The plot was unique and interesting. I thought that the pacing of this book was also pretty good except for the part near the beginning where Tally was searching for the Smoke (Secret village in the forest filled with uglies). Tally was all alone when she was looking for the smoke, so there wasn't much dialogue. I think that this part of the book would be better if it was shorter and she wasn't spending so much time searching for the Smoke.

I was kind of disappointed in the characters also. I never felt much attached to the characters, at the end of the book a character dies and I didn't care. I like books where you really get to know the characters and you have favorites and grow to love them. The main character wasn't likable enough for me. Tally Youngblood is extremely dishonest through the whole book and is also much too shallow. She doesn't have all that many good traits except for the fact that she is very brave and smart. However I can kind of see how Tally is changing as a person through the book.

I feel the author could have done a better job with making you feel something. The author did a great job on the setting. I wish he could have made the main character more deep and emotional and also make the reader feel more connected with the story. The book wasn't as satisfying as I wished. Reading Uglies makes you want to read the second book but it leaves you feeling a bit disappointed.
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on March 29, 2014
Don't get me wrong, I like this story. It's different and compelling. Scott Westerfeld makes you think about what's important in today's society by magnifying it into a horrific future. You can sympathize with Tally's desire to be "pretty" and he discovery that that's not all that makes one beautiful. The plot isn't difficult to foresee once things get going, but what bothered me most was Westerfeld's thin treatment of what should have been the most tense part of the book. Without giving too much away, the rescue at the end is one of the least suspenseful "break into the tower and rescue the princess" scenes I think I've ever read. There's barely a moment where you think they may get caught. I think he misses out on a real opportunity for tension. It's almost like he was too concerned with all of the other details that he just needed a means to an end and locking them in the "tower" was that means. I don't like using the word contrived, but that whole scenario feels that way when juxtaposed to the rest of the well thought out plot. Lastly, and I've been accused of the same, Mr. Westerfeld leaves us with a doozie of a cliffhanger that pretty much forces us into the next book. Doesn't bother me a bit. I'm looking forward to reading book #2.
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on October 28, 2012
This review was originally published at [...]

Uglies is one of those books you don't want to put down.

Tally Youngblood is an Ugly - a person who is no longer a Littlie, loved for being cute and silly, and not yet a Pretty, those over 16 years of age who have undergone extremely drastic plastic surgery to enhance every aspect of their appearance. The rationale for this radical surgery is that having big eyes, full lips, flawless skin and a perfectly symmetrical appearance makes people like you. It's simply human nature. Therefore, a society of people who all like each other at first glance will be peaceful, happy, and most of all, beautiful. Which is why the pre-teen Uglies are literally quarantined in their own school, with Pretty Town just across the river, beautiful and mocking.

In my estimation, the Junior High Years were awkward enough without society constantly reminding you that you are 'Ugly' and therefore worthless the way you are.

Needless to say, Tally is pretty excited about turning 16, becoming Pretty, and starting her 'real life'. She sees herself as flawed and terrible and worthless until that exciting surgery. When a new friend of hers disappears instead of undergoing the operation, Tally is implicated as a witness. Sure enough, Shay gave her cryptic instructions to follow her to The Smoke - a place where people can live how they want, and oddest of all, stay ugly forever.

When Tally decides to betray Shay by infiltrating the Smoke for the Specials (read: scary bad guys responsible for keeping this seemingly perfect society in line), it doesn't feel like she had a choice at all.

How could she stay Ugly?

And then, out in the wild, she starts to discover her own mettle and worth. She learns to rely on herself and others. She begins to see Real Humans as... well, normal. People. Pretty or not. She discovers the real reason that everyone undergoes an invasive surgery, and decides she's never going back.

Until the Specials show up.

I loved the salute to 1984's Newspeak, which gets even better in the sequel.
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