Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Westerfeld, Scott. 2005. Uglies.
I have nothing but good memories surrounding Uglies. My first introduction to Miss Tally Youngblood, trickster fifteen year old, was in the fall of 2005. From the early summer sky was the color of cat vomit to I'm Tally Youngblood...make me pretty, I was hooked. So much so that I went out to buy my own copy of the book the very next morning. But in 2005, I wasn't blogging. (I probably didn't know what a blog even was.) I did, however, review it in Librarians Choices 2005. It was one of my picks. I remembered it was one of the hardest reviews I'd ever written-- there is a word limit for Librarians Choices--and it came back with a lot of red marks all over it.
Here is my original review:
Set three to four hundred years in the future, Uglies, a dystopia, focuses on a global community of pretty people. Tally Youngblood introduces readers to this picture-perfect community where appearances are not a matter of one's genes but a matter of extensive plastic surgeries planned by the Community of Morphological Standardss. Tally and Shay are best friends awaiting their sixteenth birthdays and their surgeries after which they'll leave Uglyville behind and join the New Pretties. But Shay doubts that the "Pretty Committee" is as concerned with equality and justice as it appears, suspecting that ulterior motives may lay behind the surface. Days before her sixteenth birthday, Shay runs away leaving a cryptic message for her friend to find the way to Smoke, the rebel community of "ugly" outsiders. When the authorities discover Shay's disappearance, Tally is asked to make the hardest decision of her life: betray Shay and the rebel community to the authorities or face living life ugly.
Uglies is a fast-paced novel taking a typical YA topic--self esteem, conformity, and the perception of beauty--and treating it in a new and ultimately satisfying way by speculating about where current values of beauty and perfection might lead us as a society if taken to the extreme. By setting Uglies in the future instead of a contemporary high school, Westerfeld is able to provide reflection and commentary on a serious topic in a new and original way.