This book has been on my wishlist for a while now. I figured since it’s part of the YA Challenge and it’s about to end soon I should get around to it and actually read it. The plot really intrigued me but I didn’t know that it was a dystopian fiction novel. In fact I thought it was something entirely different. However! naturally I read it from beginning to end with no regrets.
Uglies features the story of a girl named Tally who is about to be turned “Pretty”. This book is set in a futuristic setting where there are “Uglies” and “Pretties”. Both are separated into their own areas, where young Uglies undergo a complete head to toe operation to become “Pretty”. Being pretty has a lot of perks. You party all night. You do whatever you want, there are no rules and you live life to the fullest. It seems to be a dream come true and every goal of every Ugly. Tally, patiently waiting for her time for her operation meets a girl named Shay who thinks differently. She doesn’t want the operation. She questions on why the need to become pretty when people should be different in all aspects of life. Thus she escapes her operation and attempts to bring Tally with her. Tally refuses but then is set with an ultimatium. Either she betrays the secrets Shay has given to her or she’ll never be pretty. Ever. Thus, you follow Tally throughout this story and the lengths she goes to and the hard choices she has to make. Either betray her friend, or be an Ugly for the rest of her life.
This book took a while to grow on me. At first I wasn’t sure what to think. I didn’t think it was going to be a futuristic dystopian fiction. So it took me a while to picture the setting while reading the story. Eventually though, I started to like the book. It had a lot of interesting moments and I was curious as to what happened to the world to make it the way it is in the novel. It was a little vague. However you do get an explanation as to what happened near the end of the book.
I wasn’t too attached to Tally. She just seemed so shallow and *silly* and pratically obsessed with being Pretty. I understand it sounds so much better than living the hum drum life of being an Ugly but she just wouldn’t be stop obsessing over it, it got old quickly. I liked Shay for her thinking and individuality. I thought she did a great job in taking Tally out of her own little shell. However aside from Tally, most of the characters in this novel weren’t really rounded out, or even developed. They were just flat. Although the story focused more on Tally it would have been nice to see other characters develop with her as well. Shay does, albeit drastically but it was nice to see Tally mature throughout the book. What bugged me was Tally’s anguish over her secret. I was practically yelling at the book wanting her to tell the truth. But then, I figured the book would have probably turned out a lot differently – not sure if for the better.
I liked the plot throughout the novel, although I found it sort of dragged here and there (when Tally is with the Smokies for instance). I was willing to let that go however, because the story did get my attention once I got adjusted to it. It does make a pretty good dystopian fiction novel and the ending does make me want to continue where it left off. There was some science in this book but pretty basic and not enough to be discouraged with scientific jargon. If you’re looking for something with action, this book does have it. Tally’s journey to find her friend Shay was interesting, as Shay left her directions in some sort of code that Tally would only be able to understand. I particularly liked that because it was like a puzzle she was trying to solve and you went along the journey with her.
Overall, it wasn’t the best novel I’ve read, but it was good enough for me to read through from beginning to end. Would I recommend this? yes why not! I liked the overall theme of beauty and striving to being content with just the way you are, and to be apart from the rest. This is a perfect novel to see what would happen if the obsession of beauty is carried just a few more steps too far.
I give it a 7 out of 10.