Title: Uglies Series (Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras)
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Edition: First Simon Pulse Edition, Paperback: March 2005
Back Cover Summary: 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.
Don’t we all wish to be beautiful? Like, supermodel-with-hair-extensions-flawless-make-up-fresh-wax-skinny-under-perfect-lighting-and-airbrushed-up-the-wazoo pretty? Don’t lie! Well, now what if it was forced upon you at the age of sixteen? Still sound appealing? Yes, we would all love to be pretty, but we all love freewill and choice as well.
This is the same dilemma that Tally Youngblood faces.
High Notes: One of the really great things about this book was how it combated today’s obsession with beauty. Yes, we all want to be beautiful. But what if beauty became mandatory? Then, it doesn’t sound so appealing. Yet, you know people who would do it. Don’t you? Plenty of Tally’s friends had done it before her. Tally’s best friend Peris, who loved sneaking out in the middle of the night, causing trouble, defying authority with Tally, still went through the transformation. Even Tally considered it many times. However, she eventually runs away in order to discover what really happens when a person becomes “pretty.” Turns out that it isn’t so pretty at all.
Another high point was the development of the society Tally lives in. I’ve read a few dystopian novels, but this has been one of the most interesting. Everything appears to be simple, from the names of the towns (New Pretty Town, Uglyville, The Rusties, The Smoke, etc.), to the different characteristics of people who live there, to their slang. Yet, there are many layers of controversy and more and more to learn as Tally discovers ever places’ little secrets.
Low Notes: The lowest note is Tally’s transformation in the third book, “Specials.” As you can imagine, Tally is an Ugly in “Uglies,” a Pretty in “Pretties,” and a Special in “Specials.” (The person in “Extras” is also an “Extra,” but that’s a different character.) Anyway, you get to know and love Tally as an Ugly, and even when she is turned into a Pretty she’s fighting it the whole time, so she doesn’t feel all that different. However, when she becomes a Special she changes a lot; almost too much. She’s harder, meaner, blunter, all characteristics of Specials, but not of Tally. It takes a bit of getting used to. (If you ever get used to it.) Nevertheless, I guess it was inevitable so it’s really nothing to get too hung up on.
Character Development: 4/5
Style and Grammar: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 88% Unique!