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Thursday, January 2, 2014

"Uglies" by Scott Westerfeld~YA Dystopian

SUMMARY :

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. 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 the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.


PARTICULARS OF THE BOOK :

Published by:  Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse
Pages:  406
Genre:  YA SyFy/Dystopian
Series:  1 of 3 and Companion Novel
Author:  Scott Westerfeld
Website:  Scott Westerfeld


ABOUT THE AUTHOR :


Scott Westerfeld is me. I’m the author of eighteen novels. Five are for adults, and the other thirteen for young adults.

I’ve also been an occasional ghost writer, which is like driving someone else’s car really, really fast for lots of money. (I could tell you what famous authors I ghost-wrote for, but then I’d have to kill you. My name can be found on three Powerpuff Girl choose your own adventures, however.) In my artsy days, I wrote music for artsy downtown New York dancers, some of which can be found at the bottom of my video page.

For my early adult books, check out the bottom of this page. Note that they aren’t particularly suitable for children.

I’m best known for my four sets of books for young adults. The most recent is the Leviathan trilogy. It’s a steampunk retelling of World War I, illustrated by the incomparable Keith Thompson. It features adventure, walking machines, and living airships! Read more about it here.

My most famous works are those of the Uglies series, set in a future where cosmetic surgery is compulsory when you turn 16, making everyone beautiful. Of course, there are some people who want to keep their own faces . . . and that’s not okay with the government. The series consists of a trilogy—Uglies, Pretties and Specials—as well as a companion novel, Extras.

I’ve written another YA trilogy called Midnighters, a tale of five teenagers born on the stroke of midnight, for whom time freezes every night, revealing a dark and terrible hidden world. My ancient, dorky website for the series is here.

I also have a set of books which is often called “The New York Trilogy,” three novels all set in contemporary New York, but not a real trilogy. The first is So Yesterday, about a cool hunter who runs afoul of a plot to end consumerism. The second is called Peeps, a “vampire” novel. The third is The Last Days, set in the same world as Peeps.

I was born in Texas, and split my time between New York City and Sydney, Australia. (I have more frequent flyer miles than you do.) You can read many personal details of my life on my blog. And consult the Scott fact sheet here


FABULOUS STUDENT VIDEO OF "UGLIES!"






THE BOOKISH DAME REVIEWS :

Right out of the chute, the first YA fiction of the year I've read..."The Uglies"...and it's high time I did!  This is a dystopian series that the YAs have been raving about for years, and I have been putting on the back burner hoping to get to "someday."  I'm so glad I had a listless day this week and decided to pick up something unexpected, my hand landing on this one.  I can now see what all the hype has been about.

Scott Westerfeld is an interesting author.  He keeps the book right on the edge of gripping.  It took me nearly 80 pages before I found anything that really grabbed me and made me interested enough to keep reading to the end of this one. (Honestly, if it weren't for my readers, I would have tanked!)   I think his purpose was to pull in the pre- and teen group around that 16 year old target, and it was a bit difficult for someone my age to tag along. Or, maybe it was just slow...you know?

Once he got midway into the novel, however, I felt a shift in his writing and it became more "ageless," more befitting of a dystopian that any of us could relate to.  His main character, Tally, seemed not only to come of age in the story, but in the writing of his novel, itself.

This book is, of course, fraught with many questions about the angst of teens and adults, alike, having to do with our physical beauty.  But, it also touches upon our treatment of genetics, the environment and the raising of children, among other things.  There are a good deal of questions posed in the story, and the book would be a great one for a book group of adults regardless of its slow up-take.

While I can't wholeheartedly recommend this for all adult readers, I would say this is one YAs will probably love, and the adventurous adult should take a look at.  "Uglies" is the first in a trilogy which is a huge come-on for YAs who love to "marathon" read and collect books like this.

Will I be reading the next book in the series?  No, thank you.  But, I did enjoy the first one...  :]


3.5 stars                    Deborah/TheBookishDame

9 comments:

Kimi Barra

I didn't really like this one so much. I'm into dystopian YA, but this one seems too much for me. Thanks for the review! :)

-Kimi of Geeky Chiquitas
www.geekychiquitas.blogspot.com

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