Review : Uglies

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Pages : 425
Genre : YA, Dystopia
My Rating : 

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunning pretty. And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.

But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world – and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally a choice : find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally’s choice will change her world forever…

The first time I saw Uglies on a store’s shelf, I thought for sure it wasn’t for me! Honestly, I didn’t even bother reading the back of the book. (hey, I never hid that I was a shallow book-picker!) Once I became a book blogger though, all I heard was praise for Westerfeld’s work. I knew I would have to try it, sooner or later!

Uglies was an entertaining story, combining an original world-building, fast pace action scenes and a captivating set of characters. Although I didn’t fall in love with it right from the start, I still was hooked from the first pages, and I read the book compulsively!

I have never seen writing quite like Westerfeld’s before, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. His style is concise and right to the point; he is the perfect example of that “show, don’t tell” policy we keep repeating! There’s no overflowing sentimental scenes, no unnecessary descriptions; if something is mentioned, it has its importance in the story. Which doesn’t mean that the details are neglected, absolutely not! Westerfeld has a great ability to describe scenes without getting lost in random thoughts, and yet making you feel really close to the characters. There’s also a great lot of technology speak out, but Westerfeld doesn’t throw them all in the same sentence, so it’s not too overwhelming. I’m guessing not everyone will enjoy his style though, but it was a nice change for me.

I have to say, that I loved Tally for all that she was, strengths and weaknesses both included. She was interesting, intelligent and resourceful, and her attitude sounded very true to me. She has to deal with pretty heavy stuff in the story, and she handled it in a way that was both understandable and realistic.

I couldn’t finish my review without talking a little more about the story’s setting, this futuristic world where all humans are created “equals” by becoming pretty. It is a clear commentary on our actual society and the value of beauty, and this shapestory through the book in ways that are sometimes subtle, and sometimes not. There was a lot to discuss in Uglies, and I don’t want to give too much away, but I thought this book would be a wonderful one to discuss in a teen’s bookclub.

In the end, what more can I say than I loved this book? It was really complex, both philosiphically and emotionally, and at this point in time, I have already gone through the next two books in the series. I have no doubt there’ll be a lot more Westerfeld in my reading future!

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15 responses to “Review : Uglies”

  1. Juju says :

    Excellent review. I had the same first impression when I saw the cover too. Your review has me thinking I should put it on my list.

  2. Megan says :

    I definitely shared your first impressions, too! I’ve seen this books around but wasn’t sure that the series would interest me. I’m starting to think I was wrong! I’ve been big into this alternate, futuristic world reading since I got so into The Hunger Games and Catching Fire… you’ve inspired me, Kay — I’ll add this one to ye old TBR! 🙂

  3. Amanda says :

    I loved this book. I was taken completely by surprise. Westerfeld’s writing style is perfect for me. I like how he only describes a few choice details and lets your imagination fill in the rest. I get bogged down in books that describe too much. I really need to revisit this series.

  4. Ceri says :

    Wow, this sounds like something totally up my street. Your description at the end about the this futuristic world where all humans are created “equals” by becoming pretty remindsme of what Bret Easton Ellis did with ”Glamorama’. I love books that have hidden messages about society inside so I’ll definitely be giving this a try.

    Plus, I keep hearing about Westerfeld but have yet to try him. Really great review, Kay. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  5. bermudaonion says :

    My husband has read this whole series and loved it. I hope to get to it soon.

  6. Cara Powers says :

    I loved this whole series. Uglies is the best though.

  7. Nicole says :

    This sounds so good. Complex philosophically and emotionally? I need to get it. I guess the cover has just never particularly called to me though everyone seems to love these books.

  8. amber says :

    I’ve always had the same impression you had, but now I think I should give the first book a shot. Thanks for the review.

  9. Staci says :

    I have had this book for a very long time…you’ve inspired me to dust it off soon and get it read!!!

  10. Debbie says :

    I’m glad you picked this up and enjoyed it. I loved this book and the entire concept.

  11. kay says :

    Juju : I hope you’ll enjoy it! But for sure, it was absolutely not like what I imagined the first time I saw that cover!

    Megan : Tally, the heroine from Uglies, reminded me a lot of Katniss in the Hunger Games. I thought the setting was more futuristic in Uglies, with more technology, but if that doesn’t bother you too much, you might enjoy Uglies too!

    Amanda : I was surprised too! And you said it very well : he does insist only on important details, leaving a lot of space for imagination (like the architecture, for instance. There’s very little said the buildings shapes and details, I liked that.)

    Ceri : I really hope you’ll enjoy it! I have never read Glamorama, I will have to take a look at what it is!

    Kathy : I hope you do! I’m hoping my man will give it a try, too!

    Cara : I have only Extras left to read, but yes, the whole series so far is great! My favorite was Pretties, with Uglies not so far behind.

    Nicole : Yes, the cover didn’t really appeal to me either. Now that I have read them though, I like it. I think it suits the story nicely.

    Amber : I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

    Staci : Oh, that’s good! I hope you’ll love it at least half as much as I did!

    Debbie : I agree, the concept is amazing. There’s a lot of thought into it, even though at first sight it’s more of an “action” novel.

  12. Kari says :

    I have seen this book at Borders and have looked it a number of times, but haven’t picked it up. I will definitely be checking them out! I love series boooks too. That’s always a plus for me when deciding if I want to read something or not!

  13. justicejenniferreads says :

    I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed this book. It definitely sounds interesting to me and I’d love to pick it up sometime and give it a shot.

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