Tuesday, 29 May 2012

{review} Uglies by Scott Westerfeld


Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that? 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.
My Review
I love a good dystopian read. Sadly for me, Uglies was one long yawn.

It reminds of me Paranormal Activity 3.. Fantastic trailer, right? But none of the scenes featured in the actual movie.

So the back of the book has set this creepy Stepford Wives setting, which is what attracted me to it in the first place, because the covers are all dull. But the world i'm brought into is your typical 'living in the wilds' camp. Most of the book is spent describing landscape which was about as exciting as a paper bag. Any small scenes of action had me re-reading over and over, unsure how the story had gone from a yawn-a-thon to suddenly full paced dramas. But even then, the book was as dull as the cover.

So Tally is the protagonist. She's pretty much the same as most leading girls in a book. She makes friends with Shay who is annoying and pushy. They spend most of their time playing tricks.. By tricks I mean hover boarding pretty much ALL of the time and breaking the odd rule here and there.

When Shay runs away, the story becomes completely unrealistic. The 'Specials' become involved, preventing Tally from having her Pretty operation until she brings back Shay. The Specials are smart enough to know Tally knows where Shay is - even smart enough to retrieve a 3D copy of the cryptic-clue instructions for getting to the wild Smoke from Tally's bag without taking it from her. They have super awesome hovercrafts that could get to the Smoke in a few hours... But wait! They need a 16 year old girl with no experience alone in the wild to backpack for two weeks across derelict landscape to find Shay so that they can in return find the Smoke. I'm sorry, but that is ridiculous. I instantly lost patience from then on.

It was almost as if I was in Westerfeld's head, listening to him prattle on with a story that had nothing strong to back it up, whilst he invented easy and cheap plot lines where it suited his overall plan for the direction of the book.

And then introduce the Smoke. The Smoke that has managed to remain unfound in a futuristic society, where the officials have technology we can't even imagine anytime soon and the Specials with their super inhuman strength . Ugh - cheap, easy plot line. Oh but it's okay, they have brainwashed Tally to do it all for them.

And in the Smoke we have David. He's boring, lacking personality and you just know he's going to be the guy Tally will fall in love with after 2 minutes of being in the Smoke. I can't connect with him after reading about how ugly he is. I'm superficial to an extent... I like my guy characters to be hot.

This book was disappointing. I was seriously let down by the whole thing. The only thing going for it was a blurb that the actual book didn't live up to. Several times through out I said to myself, there's no way I can get through this. It reminded me of Cars, the Pixar movie. Tally was Mcqueen and the setting of the Smoke was Radiator Springs.

I won't be reading Pretties anytime soon. I read the first chapter at the end of Uglies and if a character says the word 'Bubbly' one more time I might lob the book through a window.

I gave the review 2 stars. Why? Well, it would have been 1 and 1/2. The book could have been great, and although I didn't enjoy Westerfeld's overall direction, I did manage to finish it (somehow) and I'd consider that better than not at all.

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (29 Mar 2012)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0857079131
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857079138


  1. I'm sad to hear that... I haven't read the book but I thought it will be a good book. I'm going to see more opinions before start it.

  2. I remember reading this and really enhoying it at the time but I was probably 12 or 13 and this book seemed quite "grown up" :L I never read the rest of the series as the library didn't have them at the time!

  3. Awe, well, many others do love this book, I guess it just wasn't for me. When I form an idea of which direction a book is likely to follow I easily set myself up for disappointment. Unfortunately, Uglies for me didn't go in the direction I expected :(

    Do give it a go though, Mandy. As I said, many others loved it :]