Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

April 27, 2009
By lauren martin BRONZE, White Plains, New York
lauren martin BRONZE, White Plains, New York
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The Ugly Truth

By Scott Westerfeld
Simon Pulse Publishers, $7.99What happens when perfection isn't good enough?
Hoverboards swish past your face. You can get whatever you want out of your wall. And most importantly, something really dramatic happens at sixteen. You do not get your license, but you become pretty. You get an operation on your sixteenth birthday that takes away all your flaws and turns you into a perfect beautiful person, and you get to go to a whole other world where all you need to do is have fun. But for some people, perfection isn't as important as the cold, hard, and hideous truth. Dive into this thrilling science fiction book, Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld.

Tally is a city girl who enjoys playing tricks and having fun. She desperately wants to turn pretty and join her older friends in Pretty Town, the place where everyone that has had their operation goes. Tally's meets Shay while playing a fun trick. Shay is an adventurous and fun-loving ugly who does not want to turn pretty. She wants to stay young and be tricky. Tally and Shay often have frustrating conflict about turning pretty, until Shay reveals that she wants to run away. Even though they make up again and again, you can always feel the tension between them and their everlasting friendship at the same time. Tally faces a hard decision and she is afraid of the outcomes. She is not sure if she should leave with her friend or stay in the city to hang out with her pretty friends and have fun. It seemed to be her decision until authorities step in and almost make the decision for her- find her friend or stay ugly for the rest of her life. Uglies takes place in the small town, Ugliville, where every teenager under sixteen stays until they get their operation. Most uglies enjoy playing tricks and having as much fun possible while waiting for their operation. It takes place about 400 years in the future- everything is high tech and the cities don't make much of an impact on the environment. More specifically, the book takes place from August to October.

The theme of Uglies is that you should always accept yourself for who you are. No matter what you look like on the outside, it is really about how you are on the inside. This theme is relevant for Uglies because everyone thinks that the only way to be beautiful is to have the “pretty operation”. Most uglies, or people under sixteen think that they are worthless and hideous, just because they are not flawless. Even if they are told the hideous truth, some still want to become pretty, because that
is what society has made them think. Maybe someone will finally realize looks aren't everything.

I think Uglies is one of the most personal stories in the third person. He uses third person to best of his advantages. This allows him to go deep on every character and hear the story from many characters perspective. He uses cliff-hangers very well. When he puts them at the end of 3each chapter, it makes you wanting more and very curious about what's going to happen next. When he uses them after each chapter, it also allows you to think about what you would do and make connections. Westerfeld uses a wide range in his vocabulary. He uses interesting and thought provoking chapter titles, such as “The side you despise.” and “The worst mistake.” The characters seem so come to life, right in front of your eyes. They always have their own opinions about everything and Westerfeld doesn't avoid conflict between the characters. When you read about their problems, it almost seems that you feel their pain, too. Then you begin to connect with the characters, which makes the book a lot more enjoyable. The setting is very complex, and even when not much is happening, you can get engulfed by the interesting gadgets and those amazing hoverboards. Westerfeld writes about hoverboards as if they were cars. Since the setting is about four hundred years in the future, he has a great reason for everything- us “Rusties” were damaging the earth to the extreme, and then an oil plague broke out and killed almost all of them. The few that survived, decided to make everything smaller- to use up less natural recourses. It seems farfetched, but that is what science fiction is all about.

This book would be most enjoyable for young adults because it has a lot of action and it is lengthy, but the plot/conflict would most appeal to younger readers. I recommend this book because it quickly absorbs the reader with heart-pumping action and shocking twists, which captivates the reader. Uglies quickly makes you realize the true meaning of beauty, friendship and personal boundaries.
Make sure to read all the books in the fast-paced Uglies series!

Scott Westerfeld also writes many other books for young adults, like Peeps.

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