by Scott Westerfeld
Published 2005, Simon & Schuster
Paperback, 425 pages
"Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that?
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.
But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. 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 the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever."
The style of writing reminded me a bit of the Twilight saga, fast-paced, with lots of teenager-style lingo mixed in. I loved all the the little details that created the world of "post-Rusties," such as the groups of people - Uglies; New, Middle, and Late Pretties; Special Circumstances; Smokies and New Smokies - as well as the shortened version of names - Tally, Ellie, Sol, Croy, Shay, Peris, Astrix, etc. The way that our world is portrayed in comparison to the world in the book is also interesting in various details such as telling the difference between roller coasters and railroads, Tally's reactions to eating meat and making clothing from animal skins, David still referring to his parents as "Mom" and "Dad", and Tally finding David's name odd. The reader sees the negative aspect of the way we presently live, as well as the positive and negative aspects to living in the extreme opposite of "Rusty". It seems that neither extreme is the answer, but rather finding the "happy medium," which is rarely ever easy. This post-apocalyptic world fits right in with works such as 1984, Anthem, and Brave New World. I look forward to continuing the series with the next book, Pretties.
The Cover: I have always been a fan of cover photos that span both front and back covers, as this one does. The face of a girl hiding among tall blades of grass is a better representation of the Smokies subculture than just the Uglies, and I don't see anything particularly unattractive about the face of the girl, but the cover is still interesting enough to make me want to pick up the book and see what it is about, especially with the sentence printed on the bottom right of the front cover: "In a world of extreme beauty, anyone normal is ugly."
First Line: "The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit."
Intriguing first line, to put it mildly. The first line alone would classify the book as a young adult, in my personal opinion. It sounds like something my sixteen-year-old niece would say, which is about the same age as the narrator, Tally Youngblood.
Favorite Quote: "What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful."
Read For: Speculative Fiction Challenge, Pages Read Challenge, Celebrate the Author Challenge, Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge, 1st in a Series Challenge, Twenty-Ten Challenge