Friday, June 1, 2012

Review: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Uglies
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Release Date: May 3rd 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Series: Uglies #1
Links: GoodReads / The Book Depository
NZ Retailers: Paper Plus / Whitcoulls

Snyopsis (from GoodReads)

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 Thoughts

When I first read the snyopsis to Uglies, it didn't interest me at all. It sounded... 'silly' to me and that it was one of those stories that you read and come to find out there was no real plot. After seeing so many recommendations and high praises for it though I finally caved and bought myself a copy of the book.

We first meet our protagonist Tally Youngblood looking out her bedroom window into New Pretty Town. We are given some insight on the way their society works and learn the importance of becoming pretty.  I am quite happy with the world building of this book, as although I thought it would be a little confusing at first, I really came to understand the society that Tally lives in. When I first picked up this book I thought it sounded really shallow and that the reasons given for turning pretty would be really superficial. It turns out there was much more to it than that which I was happy to learn. Nothing much happened in the first few chapters so it took me a while to really get into the story. As things began to pick up I was surprised to find that there was actually quite a bit of action in the story. I don’t know what I had been expecting but I hadn't thought that the majority of the story was going to be action filled. With that being said, it wasn’t the fast paced action that keeps you on the edge of the seat. It was simply enough to hold my attention and keep the story sustained. With Tally getting further on her mission, we learn some new interesting information which I could tell was going to help set up for the next books in the series. About halfway into the book I finally was eager to know what would happen next. The action really picked up from there on out and the book became a page-turner! While the story became more exciting, I felt like some things seemed quite rushed towards the end. It was almost like the author got lazy and couldn’t be bothered writing a few extra bits making a some things seem a little unrealistic (even if taking into mind what type of book this is). It was easy to put this aside though as apart from that, the book was well written. It was the last few chapters that really pulled me into the story and as I sped through the pages I came to find that the author was going to leave me hanging... 

The thing I really liked about the characters in this story is the fact that you see a lot of character development. In the beginning of the story, Tally is just the type of ugly that thee society wants her to be. Apart from playing a few tricks here and there, she has her mind set on the day when she finally becomes pretty and moves to New Pretty Town where her life will take off. As the story progresses, events unfold and secrets are learned Tally develops a mind of her own. Being pretty is no longer her main area of concern. She comes to realize the implications of being pretty and takes into consideration the fact that there are more important things than what you look like. We also see her feel regret over some of her actions but I liked the way she dealed with it all. While I didn't really like Shay in the first half of the book, she had her own personality and grew on me as the book went on. She was a realistic character, which I appreciated. 

This book was simply 'good' for me. I do have to say I was a little disappointed as I went in with such high expectations from all the high ratings and reviews for it. It was well written but the story itself didn't capture me enough and have as much depth as I would like in a dystopian story. While the first half of the book was so-so to me, the last few chapters were enough to make me want to read the next book and definitely improved my thoughts on it. I would recommend this book to all YA readers but if I could go back, I wouldn't have it on the top of my to-read list. I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy the second book more than the first one though, so here's hoping!

3 Stars!


  1. Heyhey!
    Thanks for the review - I wasn't sure about picking this one up either, so now I guess I'm just gonna wait until I see it at used bookstore anywhere...

    1. NP (: It wasn't 'bad' at all... it just wasn't as exciting as I hoped.

  2. Holy fate! I just randomly picked this book up at the library, and then randomly clicked on your entry from the linky on It's Monday? on Book Journey. I'm looking forward to jumping into this one. Thanks for the review!

  3. Ahh, I completely agree with you! I'm pretty sure I read this a long time ago and it was, well... forgettable to me. But I did like the concept and I have to give Scott Westerfeld props for writing a dystopia before the release of The Hunger Games and dystopia's became popular! I think it was really imaginative, however I just found it really hard to like the characters :/ And I think that was why this didn't really work for me. Anyway, thanks so much for your honest review :)

    1. I totally agree with you. If I had liked the characters more the story would have been much more engaging!

  4. I agree with you...I liked the book but it wasn't a favorite. I did enjoy the others in the series, though. They were much better than book 1, so the next 2 books are definitely worth your time.


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