Friday, December 30, 2016

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Tally is looking forward to her sixteenth birthday - the day when she will receive the operation and change from one of the Uglies into one of the Pretties.  It feels like she has been waiting forever, and with her friend Peris living in New Pretty Town she is feeling lonely - which leads to one of the biggest adventures she has had, and leads to Shay.  Shay is also about to turn sixteen, and she and Tally strike up a fast friendship.  Together they are an unstoppable force, and come up with the most bubbly escapades. 

As the time for the operation approaches things change and Shay seems withdrawn, focused on the rusty ruins beyond the city limits.  Shay seems to actively avoid mention of the operation, refusing to play the game of planning her perfect new body and face, looking to the world beyond what they know.  When Shay runs away just days before the operation Tally is pulled into the most bogus adventure of her life because she knew Shay and everyone assumes she knew what Shay was about to do.  Tally is about to discover some of the biggest secrets of her city, and once she knows them it will change her life forever.

I read Uglies when it was first released over ten years ago, and as I had the luxury of some time off around the public holidays I decided to pick the series up and read it from start to finish.  It says something about the enduring nature of the series that it doesn't feel like it has dated over the past decade, and if anything it feels more relevant today than it did back then.  Tally is an interesting and engaging character, as are Shay and the others, and the story is more believable because we make the most important discoveries through their eyes. 

There are so many things that can be said about Uglies, but most of them would be spoilers that ruin the surprises within the story.  While this is a science fiction series, there are themes that appear that are relevant to today - the environment, social control, friendship, loyalty, and self discovery.  This is one of the original dystopian series, and Westerfeld created a world that seems perfect on the surface until you discover the rotten core - and Tally Youngblood is one of the archetype characters that are echoed through other dystopian novels.

If you like this book then try:
  • Renegade by J.A. Souders
  • The forest of hands and teeth by Carrie Ryan
  • XVI by Julia Karr
  • The testing by Joelle Charbonneau
  • Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
  • Proxy by Alex London
  • Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
  • In the after by Demitria Lunetta
  • ACID by Emma Pass
  • Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch
  • Reboot by Amy Tintera
  • The scorpion rules by Erin Bow
  • The hunt by Andrew Fukuda
  • Variant by Robison Wells
  • The forest of hands and teeth by Carrie Ryan
  • Sister assassin by Kiersten White

Reviewed by Brilla

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