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Uglies 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 funBut Tally s new friend 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 Three hundred years after an apocalyptic sized disaster that reshaped the world, Tally is about to turn 16 and pretty In her contained, isolated, self sufficient city just like all the other contained, isolated, self sufficient cities the operation to make her pretty will be intensive, extreme and, as far as she and everyone else alive is concerned, absolutely worth it Once she s pretty, she ll go to live across the river in New Pretty Town and party the nights away, loved by all.It s a sh Three hundred years after an apocalyptic sized disaster that reshaped the world, Tally is about to turn 16 and pretty In her contained, isolated, self sufficient city just like all the other contained, isolated, self sufficient cities the operation to make her pretty will be intensive, extreme and, as far as she and everyone else alive is concerned, absolutely worth it Once she s pretty, she ll go to live across the river in New Pretty Town and party the nights away, loved by all.It s a shock to her, then, to find that her friend Shay doesn t want to be pretty, and doesn t think she s ugly now Of course she s ugly everyone s ugly before the operation But Shay runs away to the mysterious, secretive Smoke where her friend David awaits, leaving Tally a set of cryptic directions in case she changes her mind and decides to go too But Tally has no intention of running away turning pretty is all she wants, so she can be with her friend Peris again across the river, and be noticed and listened to because beautiful people cannot be ignored.But on the day of her own operation, she is taken instead to Special Circumstances, where cruel pretties with lethal reflexes bring her to Dr Cable They want to know about Shay and the Smoke and where it is located, but Tally keeps her promise not to tell Even when Dr Cable tells her she won t get the operation and be turned pretty until she does what they ask, she does not yield Not until Peris unexpectedly visits her in Uglyville, and reminds her of the promise she made him, that she would be with him again, a promise that predates the one she made Shay Latching onto this ray of hope for she doesn t want to stay ugly the rest of her life Tally is sent to spy for Special Circumstances and give them the location of the Smoke by sending a transmission via a heart pendant given her by Dr Cable.When she arrives, though, it s not that simple Yes, the people are all ugly, and that takes a while to get used to But there s something else about them, something sharp and clear at odds with the vacuousness of all the pretties she s ever known, including her own parents And then there s David, who was born in the Smoke and is definitely not pretty but who teaches her that she s beautiful because of who she is, not what she looks like.I really enjoyed this book It reminded me a lot of Isobelle Carmody s books, her heroines especially, and also Ellie from John Marsden s Tomorrow series, and a host of others She s a quick thinker, afraid yet brave, resourceful and caring, faced with a choice no one at sixteen would want to have to make The writing style is clear and descriptive without wasting a word, the characters deftly portrayed While the themes and messages of the book may not be subtle nor are they meant to be, since we re talking about the structure of their world here there are depths to the concept, and nothing s black and white There are also little digs about our own lifestyle we are the Rusties in the book because what s left of our cities are just rusty ruins , about how we clear fell forests and waste resources and genetically modify plants The entire concept could have fallen flat on its face for being too contrived and as superficial as the operation itself, but Westerfeld holds it all together with a great heroine in Tally, a dark sci fi underworld beneath the glitter and party fun, and an examination into what price we really want to pay for the things we hold most dear I need to never run into Scott Westerfeld down a dark alley, or during a Civil War reenactment, or at Charlton Heston s house, or wherever My deep desire not to be arrested for murder would have an epic battle with my need to reach for a weapon when I see his stupid face In all fairness, as you see, I coughed up three stars for this book, so I will clarify that my empty threatening is really directed toward Pretties and Specials books two and three in this series I m posting this review on I need to never run into Scott Westerfeld down a dark alley, or during a Civil War reenactment, or at Charlton Heston s house, or wherever My deep desire not to be arrested for murder would have an epic battle with my need to reach for a weapon when I see his stupid face In all fairness, as you see, I coughed up three stars for this book, so I will clarify that my empty threatening is really directed toward Pretties and Specials books two and three in this series I m posting this review on the link for the first book in the hopes that it will inspire people to put this book on their list of books never to read If you read this book there is the danger that you may want to continue with the series, but trust me, you really don t.In listing what I don t like about this series, I ll start with EVERYTHING from the characters to the plot to the worldview that I imagine would inspire a story of this kind of depth and breadth of ambivalence The premise of Uglies is that in the future when kids reach puberty, they all have mandatory plastic surgery to turn their bodies into a perfect standard of beauty based on human brain reactions to visual stimulus Unfortunately and this is a slight spoiler, so my apologies, but it really is an element that is pretty obvious from page one, though not clearly stated until later , when the kids are having the surgeries to make them pretty, the surgeons change their brains, too, to determine their decision making abilities, capacity for independent thought, and even sense response Basically, the pretty surgery makes most people stupid, unless the occupation that the government determines for them requires intelligence So far so good it s your basic government takeover dystopia Yes, kids, if you let the government give you free health care checkups, it s only a small step to the day they start chopping up your brain.Luckily, said ugly teens particularly our protagonist, Tally, through her bff, Shay discover that if they flee to the wilderness, they will be able to live a life of freedom and romance Oh, what s that Did I say romance Thanks again Jean Jacques Rousseau, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ralph Waldo Emerson, et al Sometimes when characters go out into the wildernessI don t even know Does the phrase it s been done even begin to cover my feelings on that topic Thus begins the cat fight between Tally and Shay that is the uniting thread of this entire series You see, there is a wilderness boy imagine my surprise , who is quite a catch even though he s ugly , and there s some jealousy and betrayal and kick ass hoverboarding You get the idea.Let me clarify the problems I have listed so far 1 Suspicion of the city, using a retreat to the wild as the solution to social ills It s a tired premise.2 Cattiness of the female protagonist and portraying the central female character as mostly driven by her current crush and competition with other women That is a huge pet peeve of mine.Those, however, are small, forgivable wrongs compared to the basic disingenuousness of the moral arguments Westerfeld makes While he on one level criticizes the idea of basing society on a hierarchy of physical looks, the characters repeatedly interact within that hierarchy, calling each other pretty and ugly at every turn and defining pretty people very specifically Even the repetition of the words ugly and pretty undercuts any message Westerfeld might have against pigeonholing people I found myself seeing people in the grocery store and evaluating whether they met the evolutionary definition of pretty as according to this series It s creepy and annoying Westerfeld can be as showy as he wants about how it is limiting to judge people based on their appearance, but I argue that he is actually encouraging that same shallow judgment if only by instruction and repetition For example, it s like saying, kids, don t shoplift, but here s how to shoplift if you ever want to do it And here s a catchy shoplifting song to sing with your group of friends, who really should have a name Hey, we could call you guys the shoplifting gang Don t shoplift, though What s the real message there Ultimately, the arguments of the government that requires the pretty surgeries, also, make a lot of sense in the stories The surgeries solve anorexia, bring world peace, and save the environment Plastic surgery sounds fun, too, and Westerfeld literally makes no compelling arguments against body alteration At the same time, I m left feeling that Westerfeld thinks it is a bad idea, though he is not convincing.If Westerfeld s discussion of body image wasn t enough of a travesty, the point in this series where this backwards arguing makes me want to wipe him off the face of the planet is when he introduces cutting By cutting I m not talking about skipping school If you are not familiar with cutting, it is a form of self mutilation that has been growing in popularity with teenagers over the past few years I m going to go ahead and say it s been growing in popularity since 2006, when the book Specials was published In Specials, our catty female protagonist and her buddies discover that by slicing up their arms, they experience a particularly satisfying high, and all of their senses are strengthened Ultimately, they randomly decide that this is a bad idea, but Westerfeld only implies their reasoning for that decision, and again I m left with the feeling that probably everyone should be a cutter because in the context of the story it s pretty badass I think that was the point where I started yelling and throwing things around my house.Unfortunately, some parts of these stories are actually engaging not seriously engaging, but passably , and for a while I wanted to find out what happened to everyone, even while I wanted to burn the author s house down The truly unforgivable wrongs are his wolf in sheep s clothing discussions of teen body image and self mutilation issues His characters never develop deep self respect or intelligent motivation for their actions, and even when their decisions seem healthy, Westerfeld makes a better argument for the unhealthy decisions Now I realize that I didn t even talk about the uber annoying slang language he develops for the Pretties and Specials I ll just say that these books are not bubbly and leave it at that So my wife and I occasionally swap books which may seem a little kooky However, you have to keep things spicy when you ve been married as long as we have and since nipple showers with hot candle wax make me break out into shouts of FUCKARELLA THAT HURTS we needed some alternative sizzle So she hooks me up with this little philly of a novel while I matched her with The Lies of Locke Lamora Well my wife loved the book I set her up with.as I knew she would because it is all over awesome Of c So my wife and I occasionally swap books which may seem a little kooky However, you have to keep things spicy when you ve been married as long as we have and since nipple showers with hot candle wax make me break out into shouts of FUCKARELLA THAT HURTS we needed some alternative sizzle So she hooks me up with this little philly of a novel while I matched her with The Lies of Locke Lamora Well my wife loved the book I set her up with.as I knew she would because it is all over awesome Of course, I will admit I was a tick jealous when I would look over and she her lying on the bed heart throbbing on Locke Lamora with a wistful smile on her face That used to be meI miss you Locke As for me, I didn t find a love connection with this book Don t get me wrong, I think the story has some wonderful qualities that I can respect it but there wasn t going to be a let s do this again sometime in our future However, even though I didn t go all Lamar and Chloe on this book, I do still owe my wife a HUGE debt of gratitude Why you ask Because if she wanted to be a nasty ms she could have chosen for me to read Twilight which would have caused me all kinds of trauma Honey.you are just too good to me Anyway, there have been so many other excellent reviews of this book that detail the plot that I will just give a brief synop before telling you what I think The story involves a future dystopia in which everyone, at age 16, is radically transformed using extreme plastic surgery to become pretty..kinda like The OC The theory is that by removing all distinctions based on physical appearance, you will also remove the jealousy and bias from society and make everyone sunny and sexy I thought for the most part that it was an excellent way to exploring themes of youthful angst about fitting in and larger issues social conformity While not as good as other YAs I ve read, I thought that the world envisioned by the story was fresh and promising and fit within the framework of the novel In other words I thought it worked I also thought that as the story unfolded and we learnedabout the TRUTH behind the society and the real purpose for the transformative surgery, the story became a lotinteresting That said, there are two main reasons why I couldn t rate this higher than I did First, the pace was much too turtle like for me and events seemed to take way too long to wrap up It just made it impossible for me to slip into the story However, the biggest chunky in the punch bowl for me was the main character, Tally, who I found annoying She drove me completely cranky for most of the book and it is tough to find win if the main biddy is giving you a case of the grumps However, to her credit, Tally did begin to redeem her image towards the tail of the book and there are preliminary indications that she may upgrade into acompelling protag in the subsequent novels However, in this one, she was lugging around a minus signoften than not So, overall, excellent back story and interesting world building give me some reason to think that the sequels might be worth a gander at some point I just pray to George Burns that Tally can grow out of her bugging me phase and that the pace could hit the accelerator in subsequent installments On final comment that probably affected my feelings about this book I recently read an incredibly powerful short story called Ponies A Tor.Com Original that covered many of the themes in this book That story was only TWO PAGES long and yet conveyed a MUCH MORE POWERFUL message Just my opine 2.0 to 2.5 stars In a world of extreme beauty, anyone normal is uglyIn Tally Youngblood s society, everyone obtains absolute physical perfection the perfect skin, hair, eyes, literally everything At least, after you turn sixteen and undergo the right operations.Tally, at age 15, is an Ugly right now but after her birthday, she will get to become Pretty She can then move out of the Ugly Dorms and into New Pretty Town It s all she wants.After all, who in their right mind would choose to remain Ugly AIn a world of extreme beauty, anyone normal is uglyIn Tally Youngblood s society, everyone obtains absolute physical perfection the perfect skin, hair, eyes, literally everything At least, after you turn sixteen and undergo the right operations.Tally, at age 15, is an Ugly right now but after her birthday, she will get to become Pretty She can then move out of the Ugly Dorms and into New Pretty Town It s all she wants.After all, who in their right mind would choose to remain Ugly All she has to do is wait to turn 16 With all of Tally s friends already Pretty and living in New Pretty Town, it s shaping up to be a very long, boring summer.Enter Shay, another Ugly, who Tally meets during one particularly wicked trick Tally grabbed a bungee vest and dived off a Pretty building Shay has the same birthday as Tally and for a while the two of them spend all of their time togetherI want those perfect eyes and lips, and for everyone to look at me and gasp And for everyone who sees me to think Who s that and want to get to know me, and listen to what I say I d rather have something to sayThen, Shay comes to Tally with a wild story There are people, Smokies, who live outside of their city and would rather remain Ugly than turn Pretty It s absolutely insane by Tally s standards.A few days before their birthday, Shay takes off to find the Smokies, leaving Tally to go through the operation along Only, on the day of the operationTally finds herself barred She must lead the Specials aka Special Circumstances, aka the police task force to the Smokies or she will never turn Pretty.So, armed with nothing but dehydrated food, water purifier, hover board and a sleeping bag she sets off to become the Judas Goat She s waited all her life to become Pretty there s no way she wants to be stuck with her Ugliness forever Only, along the way she finds friends in unexpected places, she learns things about herself that she never thought possible and discovers something farhorrifying about the Pretties than she could ever have imagined Your personality the real you inside was the price of beautyAnd the overconfident Specials are going to getthan they bargained forMaybe they didn t want you to realize that every civilization has its weakness There s always one thing we depend on And if someone takes it away all that s left is some story in a history classRereading this one as an adult really made this one pop in my mind It definitely passed the test of time.The only thing that bugged me was that this one did manifest one of my pet peeves Namely, the tension is motivated and maintained by people keeping secrets It s just why can t they communicate Oh yeah, it s cause then there wouldn t be anything to drive the plot any Audiobook CommentsWell read by Emma Tremaine The guy voices sounded a bit weak but it was still a great one to listen to YouTube Blog Instagram Twitter Snapchat miranda.reads Happy Reading

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