Book Review: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld


Title: Uglies
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Published: 2005
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia Sci-Fi

Synopsis: 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 fun. But 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…

My Rating: Red-StarRed-StarRed-Star 1/2

I decided to go back to this oldie which I had never read. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld was a precursor to The Hunger Games, published before dystopian was even something commonly found in the YA section of your bookstore. In this story Westerfeld brings us the story of Tally who has basically been brainwashed by society to believe that everyone who has not had the pretty operation is ugly. It’s a fine critique of vanity and societal standards of beauty and that for me was what carried this book. Westerfeld also threw major shade at humans’ tendency to be wasteful and careless with the environment. Both of these critiques made the novel for me.

However, it did have its problems. Westerfeld was GREAT at these things:

  • World building
  • Plot
  • Descriptive narrative of technological developements
  • Futiristic slang
  • Tally’s POV

The things that simply did not work for me was the supporting cast of characters and for this type of book you really depend on your supporting cast to make a root-worthy army. I think Westerfeld was there for Tally, which I appreciate, but what that did was make bland the rest, and that rest was vital because love-interest David had zero personality which made it hard for me to 1- feel the love and 2-feel bad for the kid. What this also did was create an air of detachment for me, I was not invested nor submerged in the story.

Overall, I think this is not a bad novel, a good start to the series however I will not be continuing it. I am however going to read more Westerfeld, I want to see him work in other books and see if character development and individuality is something that was perhaps an anomaly for this book.


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