Westerfeld, Scott. Uglies. New York: Simon Pulse, 2005.
Plot Summary In this futuristic novel, everyone is ugly until they turn 16 and then they undergo an operation to make them pretty. Tally Youngblood, the main character of this book, looks forward to the day when she will be pretty. That it until Shay comes into her life and changes her perspective, with a little help from Dr. Cable, a Special Circumstances doctor who forces Tally to betray her friend, her beliefs and her way of life.
It took me several pages to get into this book, but then I couldn't put it down. This is the first book of a trilogy, and I can't wait to check out the next installment. The first book ended with quite a twist.
I think Westerfeld makes interesting commentary about how we see ourselves and the past. Is being pretty the best we can aspire to be? Does this operation really make a person symmetrical, thereby perfect? Are the Rusties really so dense that their civilization collapsed because of their physical features? Westerfeld does not answer these questions, nor does he pose them directly, but I found myself thinking.
At first, the technology references bothered me, but as the characters developed, I understood the setup and the importance of explaining the technology. I wondered about how far Westerfeld's fiction would become reality. I also kept thinking about Lois Lowry's book The Giver as I read. The idea of the perfect world is appealing, but at what cost?
Again, I can't wait to read the next installment of New Pretty Town and see what happens to Tally, Shay, David, Maddy and I think Croy will be a bigger part of the story. We'll see.