Author: Scott Westerfeld
Series: Uglies #1
Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars
I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this book yet! Has it really been that long since I last read it? It doesn’t seem possible, but time certainly seems to fly by quicker and quicker these days. It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade since this book was released, and almost that long since I first read it. Yet on the other hand, it’s not that hard to believe at all, since that would be me smack dab in the middle of my teenage years, and Uglies was my first introduction (and thus, my first love) into the young adult genre. As is the case, this novel – this whole series, as a fact – holds a special place in my heart, and thus my review may be a little biased by the sixteen-years-old version of myself.
Granted, it has a few plot holes. Even the first time I read it, way back when, I realized this perfect little pretty society seemed unsustainable if people didn’t seem to live very long, but people didn’t really seem to work until into their twenties or so. And the secrecy of the Smoke, held for almost two decades – if not longer – seems a little far fetched in this high tech society that seems like they ought to have infrared detectors and imaging in their helicopters and other flying machines.
But even with these faults, I still love this series. It’s even true that the main character, Tally, is very flawed. She’s extremely shallow, as are all the uglies. All littlies and uglies want to be be pretties. They spend sixteen years looking forward to the opportunity. So when Tally meets Shay – who is much more closer to my own personality – Tally is practically personally insulted by the fact that Shay seems disinterested in the operation that will make her pretty.
Even a decade after its release, this novel holds such wonderful commentary on our society and how we view beauty and looks. And I love the development of Tally’s character through her journey in this novel, even if she can be a bit daft, shallow, and down right annoying at time. Given the society she’s grown up in and the brainwashing she’s endured because of that upbringing, can you really blame her?
It’s hard to explain why this series, and this novel in particular, are so special to me. Maybe it’s the hoverboards, and how it matches the exact concepts I had at the time I read it for the idea (the concept that Lexus, by the way, has now made into a reality, at least in prototypes). Maybe it’s the existence of Shay’s character, who spits in the face of her society’s ideologies of what it means to be pretty, and dares to just be herself. Maybe it’s something else entirely. But I love it. And I hope you will too.