Uglies

Author: Scott Westerfeld
Interest Level: 9-12
Lexile Level: 770L
Science Fiction Series
My Recommended Age: 13 and Up

When my friend first mentioned this series, I was right in the middle of a "young adult kick". The kind where I couldn't get enough of the beautiful girl (who didn't realize she was beautiful) and the two guys swooning over her. Anyway, I started right in and read this book in only a few sittings. Then, I grabbed the second and about DIED! Pretties is NOT the same as Uglies, and Specials (the third in the series), is even worse.

Tally is growing up in a world where, at the age of 16, everyone is given an operation to makes their faces and bodies perfect. Before the operation they are known as "uglies," which is a derogatory term, and they are taught that there is nothing better than becoming a "pretty".  A few weeks before her sixteenth birthday, Tally befriends Shay, another Ugly who is almost ready to become a pretty as well. Together they play pranks and enjoy life, until Shay tells Tally about the Smoke. A rebellious community made up of those who refuse to receive the "pretty" operation. When Shay runs away, the police threaten Tally to either help them find the Smoke and betray her friend, or remain an ugly forever.
Uglies was a quick entertaining read. It has some notable themes, and is appropriate for most Jr. High girls. There are a few mentions of arms and legs intertwined and a few small kisses. There is a little violence, though not at all offensive. Also, the details of the operation are described in detail.

Unfortunately, all of the positive underlying messages regarding body-image, self-worth, and individuality are disregarded in the second book, Pretties. Additionally, the series loses its moral conscious. I reluctantly finished the second but was so disenchanted that I couldn't read the third.
As a mother BEWARE! Uglies is a wonderful read, but, as with most series...if you want to know what happens, you've got to keep reading.   If you keep reading (or let your kids keep reading) you (they) will be subjected to excessive partying, drinking, immorality, and violence.

Happy Reading (well, at least Uglies was "Happy"...)
~Liz

1 comment:

  1. Just finished this series myself and had the same reaction to books two and three, especially the hopefulness that the themes would not be completely lost in the end (which they were!). Great synopsis.

    ReplyDelete

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