Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Book 21 in A to Z challenge
I've had this book a long time. Many years and several people have recommended it. Well, I picked a fun time to read it because I had only a few days (after rushing Z so I could get it back to the library before it was due) to read all 400+ pages. My sister loved the whole series so I'd been meaning to read it for a while but having to rush made me worry a little because I wasn't sure how quick I could get through while enjoying reading it. I read it in 2 days.
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...
My Review: Definitely a good book. I wasn't sure on where things were headed for a good part of it and I am okay with that. The whole world and concept was interesting with the operations at age sixteen, with both of them along with the characters keeping my attention. Though I will admit on occasion it was hard with the main character, but I think in ways that was helpful. Many of us writers worry about our readers liking the main character even when they had to make bad/tough decisions. And when it comes to promises to two different friends, there was no great choice for Tally to make. She had a long standing friend who became pretty first that she made a promise to, then she had her new friend Shay, who she made a counter promise too, which messes things up and that's just the beginning. Tally spends the book digging herself into a pretty big mess and while it's hard at time to root for a bit of deceptions, it's understandable in many ways.
It had quite a few surprises. I didn't expect the romance and in many ways Tally didn't expect it either. David made for an interesting character, once we got to know him a bit more. I'm glad it wasn't her, him and some other guy. The female friend made for a better angle, in my mind, when it came to conflict and it was much appreciated change of pace. Frienship had a very important role in the story, in fact.
I had to rush read this but I still feel that it didn't affect my experience of the story overall. Reading 300 pages in a single day isn't the most I've done in the last few years, but it made me want to keep reading, which helped. I don't often plan when I'll read sequels as I have so much to read, but I think I'll be finding book 2 some time this summer so that I can find out what happens next. I need to know!
This is a great book for people who read young adult novels or some who haven't quite checked them out because certain media coverage makes them leery. It has an interesting twist on the concept of beauty, self-esteem and what happens in a world where plastic surgery is normal.