Imagine the world years from now, when people honor beauty so much that at the age of sixteen everyone is given an operation that makes them biologically beautiful. That is the world Scott Westerfeld created in Uglies.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld book cover


Tally, the main character, is a daring Ugly. She likes to sneak over to the town the Pretties live in and watch them. But she lives in a world of Uglies: a dorm and school full of teenagers that haven’t had the operation yet, but are anxiously awaiting it. The sad thing is, they bring each other down by calling each other nasty nicknames and pointing out the ugliness in their faces. Yet society has made them all equal in the fact that they are all ugly and not just bullying a few in the majority.

Throughout the book Tally begins to realize that being Pretty is not all it seems. She meets some people that have run away from the society and live naturally. She gradually changes to see things the way they do. Just before she really falls in love with the natural people in the wilderness, she finds out a secret that solidifies their thinking. People aren’t just made pretty, their minds are changed.

Tally, The Main Character of Uglies

Tally did not seem like a sixteen year old. She seemed much younger. It may have been the writing or the way the society works in that future, but she was too naïve. At one point she had to decode a note a friend left for her, it was full of things only she and the friend would know, and it took her ages to determine what it all meant. Much too long for how simple it really was. It just wasn’t believable.

The World of Uglies

The rest of the world was very believable and interesting, happening as things in our world could. Our society continues to be obsessed with looks and the environment. Tally couldn’t believe the wilderness group was cutting down trees and using them for fuel. She thought it was awful to hurt the plants like that. There was a natural progression to the order of culture.

The ending was rather frustrating in that it left everything open for the next book, Pretties. Keeping a sequel going is paramount to holding readers, but open endings force one to move onto the next book instead of being satisfied and hooked so as to want to read the next one. Open endings rely on gimmicks to keep the readers reading.

Overall the writing was entertaining and engaging, but a little young for the age of the main character. Hopefully the next book picks it up and shows a more mature Tally learning even more about her world.
Originally posted on Suite101: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld – A Book Review | Suite101