Thursday, March 17, 2011

Uglies (Uglies #1), by Scott Westerfeld

The book Uglies was one of the first books I bought for my NookColor, but it took a long time for me to finally read it.  I kept putting it off because it's one of four books and I wasn't ready to commit all that money (especially when I've already delved into a dozen or more series) and I've also heard a few negative reviews about these books as well.  However, the impending date for the new covers is looming and it encouraged me to get reading, and buying, the rest of this series (assuming I liked the first one of course).  I really hate having different sets of covers to my books.  Even if all the books are on my NC, and I don't have to look at the mismatched sets on my bookshelf, it still bothers me.  Unfortunately I already think the second cover is from another design set, but I couldn't find a white one like this cover.  Oh well, as long as I get them all in neutral colors it will look a lot better than any of the new garish, bright-colored ones.  Lots of people love the new covers, but I am not one of them (haha).  So, enough about the covers and on to the writing within.  I have never seen the morning sky and thought, "The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit," but after reading those words it sounds like an accurate description and I applaud Scott Westerfeld's bravery to use something so ugly to describe something so beautiful, but it's almost a metaphor for the entire series, presented right in the very first sentence, so I was impressed with those words in more ways than one.  Now as many of you already know, I love dystopians, so perhaps I am biased, but I really liked this book.  I read it in one sitting, which might not sound that impressive since many of the books I've reviewed thus far were read in one sitting as well, but I have to say that is truly not the norm for me.  I read before bed and I often fall asleep after 50-100 pages and resume the following night, so most books take me at least 2 days to finish, but if something really interests me, I can't seem to put it down and I found that to be the case with Uglies.  Tally is our protagonist and has spent her entire "ugly" life waiting to become pretty.  In this future world everyone goes to have a multitude of surgeries once they turn 16 to change everything about them and provide them with "perfect" looks based upon symmetry, gender preferences and The Pretty Committee's choices for the year.  Tally has always looked forward to moving to the New Pretty Town across the river where constant parties and beautiful people everywhere seemed so promising.  Her birthday is quickly approaching, but after meeting a new friend with rebellious ideas everything she ever knew is thrown into question.  She ends up between a rock and a hard place after she is forced to choose between her new friend and her lifelong dream to finally become pretty.  Scott Westerfeld does a great job of explaining what has happened to change the world we know into the world Tally knows and I love how he he offers faults for our generation without placing the entire blame on us as well, because it allowed me to focus on the entertaining elements of the book instead of the morals as is often the case in many dystopians.  There are definitely a lot of ethical questions to consider while reading, but Scott Westerfeld dances around them while adding elements of romance, action, suspense, mystery and futuristic science fiction.  While I was reading, I was mostly just entertained, but after I was done I was left with a lot of the ethical implications lingering in my soul.  What is true beauty?  How do we ever know the information we're receiving is accurate?  How much trust should we place in our government?  How much trust should we place in each other?  How much trust should we place in ourselves?   I would recommend this book to any fans of dystopians, YA, adventure/survival, sci-fi, fantasy, action or romance. 

Favorite things:  the descriptions and metaphors, the hoverboards and all the mental imagery that allowed me to feel like I was flying too, the character growth of Tally, the surprising twists and turns that allowed this book to spread its wings into a full series, the various settings, it had a great, even pace that kept me engaged all the way through and all the interesting moral issues that were so subtlety introduced.

Criticisms:  some of the characters weren't fleshed out enough to get me emotionally involved and that was a missed opportunity in my opinion.

Overall:  5 out of 5 stars!  I can't remember why others gave this a bad review, but I had to search to find something to I dislike about this book.  I already started the next one before falling asleep as well.  More to come whenever I finish it!  I may read something else next though.  Ttyl everyone!


  1. I tried to make it through the first book and couldn't. I can't remember my reasoning. I really want to pick them back up and try reading them, because so many people do like them.

  2. I've had this book on my TBR pile for a while too. It's one of my goals to read it this year.

  3. This was a really good book! The second one was also good, but not as good in my opinion. I have yet to read book #3.

  4. Amanda - A lot of people didn't like them, so maybe there is a perfectly good reason. I just couldn't figure out what it was. :)

    Lisa - It took me forever to finally read it, but I'm glad I did. (^_^)

    Emily - I am about half-way through Pretties and so far I would agree. There is too much pretty-jargon and it's taking a long time for things to get going and shape the story. I'm still interested enough to keep reading though, so it's not terrible lol! :)

  5. I keep trying to start this series and keep stopping for some reason. I don't really know why, but one of these I will get through them. I am a fan of Westerfeld's writing though, I do like the Leviathan series.

  6. So glad yo liked Uglies! I can't wait to hear what you think of Pretties! Uglies is one of my favorite books of all time, and if you haven't read any of Westerfeld's other books I definitely recommend them!

  7. This was my first Scott Westerfeld series, but I did read a short story from him in Zombies vs. Unicorns.

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  9. GAH, apologies. I somehow managed to paste another comment in here as well on my first attempt. Trying again (with preview this time)!

    Great review - I could really feel your enthusiasm for the book. I had a few reservations myself, but it was easy to forget them once I was caught up in your description of everything!

    I definitely agree with your criticism too. There were some characters with great potential who just weren't explored as much as I'd have liked. I'm hoping the sequels will go into more depth :)

    PS: If you'd like to promote your review, please feel free to link to it on my own review of Uglies, here :)


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