Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Published: 2005

Genre: post-apocalyptic YA

Length: 425 pages

Setting: I assumed somewhere near the Rockies, in the future

Interest: I loved Westerfield’s Leviathan series and wanted to read more of his work. I also wanted some YA instead of middle-grade fiction.

Summary: Tally is almost 16, which means she’s almost old enough to become a Pretty, like all the rest of her friends. In the last few weeks she’s an Ugly, she befriends Shay. Shay knows some great tricks, including how to get to Smoke. Smoke is a settlement off in the wilderness where Uglies who don’t want to become Pretties run to. Shay runs off and Tally is blackmailed by the Specials to find Smoke and lead the Specials there. While Tally originally just wanted to become a Pretty like everyone else, she eventually comes to like Smoke and learns the evil secret behind the operation to become a Pretty. The Specials descend on Smoke and Tally and David, a Smoke native, go back to the city to rescue everyone the Specials captured.

Final thoughts: This was an interesting take on a couple of tropes, namely your post-apocalyptic world, teenager must save the day, and everyone is equal. We did the story of how our current world failed (a fungus that degraded petroleum). Westerfield even uses a touch of biology in his egalitarian world. We like symmetry in faces best, so let’s make everyone equal by making everyone equally beautiful. Oh, and while you’re under the knife, we’ll tweak your brain to make you more compliant as well. You won’t even notice because you’re having so much fun. And we needed a teen protagonist because once you hit 16, you had the surgery and were changed. I’m always frustrated when kids are running around saving the world for no good reason.

Title comes from: Everyone called a teen (before they turned 16 and had surgery) an Ugly.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 17/100 in my Finally to 100 Challenge, and a W in my Author Alphabet Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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