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.
This is a book that I've been hearing great things about for years. I've always thought it sounded so interesting, but for whatever reason, I never got around to reading it. About a month ago, I picked this up from Barnes and Noble, and I am really glad I did because this book is...WOW.
I don't even know where to start. This book is really intense. From the first page, I knew this was something special. (I read this a long time ago. It is awesome. Let the record show that for ONCE I beat Rachel -Megan) THANKS FOR THE INTERRUPTION, MEGAN. Anyway.
Uglies takes place sometime in the future, when an operation has been invented to make everyone "pretty". When teenagers turn sixteen, they get the surgery, and all their flaws seem to disappear. Their bodies are drastically changed, and when they emerge, they look like a brand new person. They join all the other Pretties in a perfect little town where their only job is to have fun. Everyone looks beautiful, and more importantly, everyone looks the same. No one is judged based on appearance any more.
Sounds kind of nice, right? That's exactly what the protagonist, Tally, thinks. She is quickly approaching her sixteenth birthday, eagerly anticipating the day she turns pretty. That is, until she meets Shay.
Shay shows Tally a different side of the world she's been living in all her life. Tally doesn't think too much of her new friend's weird ways until Shay runs away one day to avoid becoming pretty. Tally has to either find Shay and turn her in, or never turn pretty again. And so her journey begins.
One of the most interesting things about this book was the contrast between the high-tech city Tally lives in, and the Smoke, a small settling of runaways deep in the woods. When Tally is at home, she goes hoverboarding around town, watching movies on her widescreen, and wearing her interface ring. Which sounds so cool. But as soon as she steps out of city lines, that all changes. All of a sudden, she is sleeping on the ground and bathing in a freezing river and hanging out with people who make their own clothes. On one hand, everything about this book is so totally futuristic, with all the awesome gadgets and cool technological advances. But there's also the environment of the Smoke, which feels like it could be taking place right now, or maybe even years ago. These two elements made the setting of this book truly fascinating.
Another thing I loved was Tally's mental journey throughout the novel. In the beginning, she is a normal teenager, young and naive. She doesn't really know anything about the world she lives in. But over time, she is exposed to surprising and horrifying things, and she is forced to grow up. She meets many new people along the way, and they all have something to teach her. Tally learns that there is nothing wrong with being ugly. So what if she's not gorgeous and perfectly proportioned? She's unique.
I think most teenagers struggle with self-image issues, which makes it easy to understand what Tally is going through. Now that I've read this book, I actually feel more confident about my appearance. I know that looking like a supermodel isn't exactly a good thing. As cheesy as it sounds, being beautiful really is on the inside.
Wow. I just got, like, sentimental for about three seconds. That was weird. Let's pretend it didn't happen. On another note, I CAN'T WAIT TO READ PRETTIES! The ending of Uglies was a little intense, and I am very excited to find out what happens next.