Author: Scott Westerfeld
Paperback: 425 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Year Released: 2005
Summary (from back of book):
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunning pretty. And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.
But Tally’s new friends Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty. 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 a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally’s choice will change her world forever.
How did it take me so long to read this series??? I picked it up at our local Borders that is closing for $4 and cannot believe it took me so long. This book has everything I love in great books: complex characters, excited and surprising plot twists, and accessible writing. My husband teaches middle school and told me his students love the series, and I can completely see why!
The society is terrifying to me. There is no individuality. Yet, they aren’t completely terrible. The people take care of the environment, use only renewable resources, and have eliminated a lot of the major problems. The cost is a little too steep…unless you enjoy no choices (spoiler, highlight to read)and losing your personality and some brain function. Everyone spends the difficult teen years being called an Ugly and getting a nickname that points out their biggest flaw all so that they want to become a pretty and don’t rebel. It was effective though because they are not completely evil…just mostly.
Some see past the brainwashing and label of ugly to see that there needs to be another way. There are some people who get away before they become pretty. At the beginning of the book, I love Shay so much more than Tally. Tally just sees being pretty as the ideal and does not question society, while Shay questions everything. I am glad Tally starts at such an extreme because it makes her transformation so much more interesting to read.
The Smoke intrigued me and I wish I could see more of it. It was a functioning, working society out of anything that Tally could imagine. I liked seeing her aversion to cutting down a tree, even if they needed it to live. Shay’s transformation at The Smoke irritated me, but it was understandable and good story-telling.
I have to add that I love the world. Anyone else want to go hoverboarding?
I am requesting the rest of the series at the library, I hope they are as fantastic as the first!
Did you love the book? Hate it? Let me know in the comments!
This counts for:
TwentyEleven Challenge (TBR)