The Good, The Future, and The Uglies
Imagine a world where war no longer exists, hunger and poverty are unheard of, and everyone is breathtakingly beautiful. Itʼs a world where pain and fear are replaced by parties and “pretties.” This utopia is the backdrop of Scott Westerfeldʼs Uglies. Proving that nothing is truly perfect, Uglies peels back the face of beauty to reveal the terrible monster that lives in the human mind.
At first glance, the title Uglies might turn you off. The cover portrays a strange brunette with muddy brown eyes peering at you. She is not “ugly”, but the title suggests that she is. Confusing? Yes. Are you intrigued. Very! ! Tally Youngblood has been waiting to be “pretty” for as long as she can remember. As her sixteenth birthday approaches, she is very excited that sheʼs now eligible to receive an operation that promises to make her childhood dreams of beauty a reality. This operation promises to make everyone gorgeous. In Tallyʼs eyes, being pretty is more than appearance. It is a life of glamorous parties, clothes, and popularity. “Pretty” is a perfection that everyone wants. Everyone except Shay, Tallyʼs new friend. Shay is skeptical about the operation, and fights the norm by running away. Tally is forced to find Shay, because if she doesnʼt, she will jeopardize the moment sheʼs been waiting for, the chance to finally become “pretty.”
Without warning, Tally is pushed into a whirlwind of craziness. She faces fears that could not be imagined in her own perfect world. Tally must confront her friends, enemies, and a truth about the “pretty” operation that she was not prepared to confront.! Scott Westerfeld creates a world far beyond our own. He breathes life into a place filled with dreams, nightmares, and everything in between. He even ties in references to the “Rusties”-presumably modern humans-who nearly destroyed the world. As you “hover board” through Scott Westerfeldʼs terrifyingly beautiful utopia, the wind will whip your face and no escape can be found.
The struggles Tally faces are actually faced by your average high schooler. Tally yearns to belong. She wants the glitz and glamour of the gorgeous, and will risk an operation to achieve it. However, as she searches for Shay outside the comforts of her shiny world, Tally begins to see life in a new light. Her struggles help her grow and explore a whole new world she never knew existed. Uglies, although set in a futuristic universe, exposes many realities of our world. Sometimes people get so wrapped up in fitting in that they forget who they are. Uglies is a reminder that it isnʼt our similarities but our differences that make us so beautiful and special.
Donʼt stop at Uglies! Be sure to pick up Pretties, Specials, and Extras! Each book delves deeper into the chilling realities of human behavior in captivating tales that only Scott Westerfeld could create.
Victoria Testa lives in New York City but is a beach bum at heart. When not writing or reading, she can be found surfing, swimming, and singing!