Series: Uglies #1In a market of flooded dystopias, we need some fresh, new ideas. And at first, Uglies certain seems like that sort of read. It appears to be fresh and inventive, and I have to admit that I was very interested at first. But the more I read, the more cliche I realised it was, and now, a few weeks after I've finished it, the post-dystopcalyptic (i.e. Hunger Games. Term coined by Hayley, my wonderful co-reviewer) forumla is really showing through:
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing
Source: Borrowed from library
Goodreads//Amazon Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that? Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there. But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. 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 the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.
- Heroine rebelling against authorities
- Lotsa action
- Plenty o'romance
- Typical I-will-control-who-you-mate-with government
Despite this, however, I did like the action scenes and some of the sci-fi elements incorporated in the story. It was a bit of a wild ride: with all the hoverboards and the roller-coaster riding, I barely had time to get my head around one thing before the next adventure started. It's a little like an eccentric blend of The Hunger Games, Legend, Matched, and Divergent.
I have a feeling that Westerfeld had lots of fun with this one--who wouldn't like writing about uglies and pretties and this intricate, well-designed society. There was quite a bit of Ugly slang used in the story, but not to an overly unbearable level. 'Bubbly' wasn't so much an issue in this book as in the next; however, the overuse of 'bogus' still annoyed me and continuously distracted me from the actual writing. There's a line you really have to tread between bringing readers into the minds of your characters by using slang and taking it completely overboard. Uglies goes about halfway, but Pretties made me seriously irritated. If you're wary, just read the synopsis and count the number of times 'pretty'/'pretties' is used. It will give you a general idea of your tolerance level (no reaction=green light; sigh=yellow light; headdesk=do NOT proceed any further).
Romance wasn't a main component of the story, so I think it should've been eliminated altogether. I have yet to find a YA read without romance, and I think that could well be a selling point. I never connected with David, the main love interest at all. He was actually rather annoying, I didn't like his parents, and I never knew what Tally saw in him. It was, quite simply, insta-love: shallow and petty.
The ending was fairly predictable. In fact, the whole story was relatively predictable. I did continue on with the series, however, and the only basis for this was because I wanted Tally to become a Pretty and live in Pretty-land, which glittered and beckoned at me with all its allure from Page One. Yes, I know. I'm like that.
Spoilers: Overall, I would recommend this book as a light-hearted adventure, but if you're looking for something really fresh and creative, don't let the synopsis fool you too much. It ends up being the very typical YA romantic dystopia, complete with insta-love and a heroine who starts off weak but ends up much stronger and far trickier. Three and a half stars.