Uglies is the first book in the four-part ‘Uglies’ series, written by Scott Westerfeld.
Tally Youngblood is about to turn sixteen, and boy is she excited. Not because she can get her licence, but because she can have the operation. The one that will change her life forever, transforming her from a repulsive Ugly into a gorgeous Pretty. But Tally makes a new friend, Shay, and Shay runs away just before her operation is due.
Tally is forced to follow and find Shay if she wants her operation, but what she finds is a society which is far from pretty. In fact, it’s Ugly.
Uglies was a fascinating book with a fascinating concept. Set a few hundred years after the humans – or Rusties, as they are referred to – were wiped out, this society of people place a lot of value on appearance. You are born a ‘Littlie’, and from when you go to school up until you turn 16, you are an Ugly. You’re Ugly. Imperfect noses, imperfect eyes, skin blemishes, non-symmetrical skin: that sort of ‘ugly’. Once you have the operation that makes you look perfect, you are a pretty where your only job is to party, party and party. You later on get a job but stay beautiful for life.
I really enjoyed this society: it was so fresh, new, original, and the concept of beauty was a massive theme in the novel. The plot was fairly good: it wasn’t necessarily full of suspense or twists, but it was marvelous.
Tally was the main protagonist. At first, she was a very shallow character, with few opinions of her own since she was practically forced to believe what she was taught: that was the only view on her society that she was given. I liked her from the start, but she few more likeable as the story progressed and as she gained more knowledge about the society she lived in. Shay began as a more antagonist type character, but over the course of the novel she too became much more likeable. Although she didn’t develop that much as a character, her actions suggested she was a strong and definitely influential character, especially to Tally.
Westerfeld’s writing flowed well and was delightful to read. All in all, Uglies was a thoroughly enjoyable novel and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this fascinating series.