Uglies (by Scott Westerfeld) c. 2005

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
c. 2005
[Teen Fiction]

Imagine living in a world where, on your sixteenth birthday, you undergo a government-mandated surgery that transforms you from an ordinary person into someone with supermodel good looks. This world is Tally Youngblood’s reality and Tally can’t wait to turn sixteen and make the move from Uglyville to New Pretty Town. But in the weeks before her birthday, Tally meets Shay, who isn’t so sure that being pretty is all that it’s made out to be. When Shay goes missing, the authorities cut a deal with Tally: find Shay or face a life without ever being pretty.

Uglies provides a frightening look at the darker side of beauty and the costs of physical obsession. Scott Westerfeld is adept at balancing fast-paced action with deeper issues, as well as creating a world that reads more like a projection of Earth’s future rather than a mere hypothesis. Uglies also serves as a discerning critique of modern societal values.

If you enjoy Uglies, check out Pretties, the next installment in the Uglies quartet. 

Pros: Intriguing and inventive premise, good social commentary interspersed with action.

Review by Martha


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