Author: Scott Westerfeld
Book #: 1st of Trilogy
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publish Date: May 3rd 2011
Format: Paperback, Re-print
Date Read: August 14th 2013
Rating: ★★★★★ / out of 5
"And don't you dare touch one of those hoverboards."
"Don't worry, I don't have to," she said, and snapped the fingers of both hands as loudly as she could.
Croy's hoverboard jumped into the air, knocking the Special's feet out from under him. The man rolled off the roof again, and Tally leaped onto the board.
Tally Youngblood has waited a lifetime for her turn. In a world where everyone is ugly until they turn pretty, six-teen is the age for the operation that will change her life. And she's almost there.
Until, she meets Shay. As their friendship forms, Shay keeps telling Tally how she doesn't want to be molded into what someone decided was the way to look. Tally disagrees. Then Shay runs away and suddenly Tally is thrust into a world of secret agencies, betrayal and hope. And discovers the lies that have been holding her whole world together.
I've had this book on my TBR list since back in August of last year, when I first made my GoodReads account. It seems like this book is pretty much like The Hunger Games, where the majority of people have already read it. Even back in 6th grade, I can remember my best friend carrying around this book and saying how much she loved it.
Still, I was hesitant to read it. I guess it's all that hype that makes me worry about how I will feel if I don't enjoy it. If you feel that way, too, I would say screw it. Even if you end up not enjoying this book, it's definitely worth a try!
Tally Youngblood was perfect, in my opinion. She's definitely different from many of our beloved YA heroines because she buys into the governments lies. When we meet her in the beginning, she really believes that she is ugly, that everyone isugly, until they are 16 and undergo the operation that makes them "pretty".
"But it's a trick, Tally. You've only seen pretty faces your whole life. Your parents, your teachers, everyone over six-teen. But you weren't bornexpecting that kind of beauty in everyone, all the time. You just got programmed into thinking anything else is ugly."
"It's not programming, it's just a natural reaction. And more important than that, it's fair. Now everyone's ugly... until they're pretty. No losers."
That was her at the start, believing that she was ugly and needed to be turned into a pretty to be anything more than what she already is.
I loved seeing her transformation from that, spewing the governments propaganda, into someone who realizes that "pretty" can come in many different forms and proportions that stray from the norm. I also liked seeing how, at first, she thought the best thing to do was turn in her friend in order to be turned pretty. Later on, though, after spending time with the runaway "uglies", she realizes that maybe saying ugly forever isn't so bad.
In the end, I admired how she was willing to sacrifice her mind,(view spoiler) and putting her budding relationship on the line in order to right the wrongs she made.
The side characters were all great additions to the story. From Shay, Tally's new best friend, to David, the love interest. To Croy, a fellow Smokie, to Peris, Tally's pretty friend. To all of the runaway uglies and the pretties back at the city. Each added to the story and gave us faces to cheer for and want to fight for.
The world was my favorite part. I have been reading a lot of post-apocalyptic novels lately, and many of them never really put much fact and reason into the whys and hows of the world being ruined and falling apart. Scott Westerfeld, though, provides us with a very unique explanation and I loved it very, very much. Even other parts of the world building, Mr. Westerfeld knew exactly how to make my inner nerd tingle with all the science-fiction!
I also enjoyed how gripping the world of the uglies/pretties was. It really made me think "Well, wouldn't life be easier if we were all the same looking?" But easier doesn't make it right.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story and cannot wait for the rest of the series! If you are on the fence about reading this, I say give it a try, no matter what.
"I'm not afraid of looking the way I do, Tally."
"Because it all comes down to this: Two weeks of killer sunburn is worth a lifetime of being gorgeous."
The kid scratched his head. "Huh?"
"Something I should have said, and didn't. That's all."
Still, she wouldn't have traded anything for this moment, standing there and looking down at the plains spread out below. Tally had spent the last four years staring at the skyline of New Pretty Town, thinking it was the most beautiful sight in the world, but she didn't think so anymore.
Nature, at least, didn't need an operation to be beautiful. It just was.
"It doesn't have to be about economics," he said, bringing the food over. "The weakness could be an idea."
Sometimes Tally felt she could almost accept brain damage if it meant a life without reconstituted noodles.
On My Goodreads: