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.
This was a pretty amazing book. No pun intended (you will understand when you read the book). I really love the way Scott Westerfield writes. He makes books easy to read, enjoyable, exciting, and refreshing. This book has a lot of interesting and compelling themes. The theme most centered in the books is the concept of beauty. Scott Westerfield has created a futuristic society where up until your 16th birthday you are referred to as an Ugly. You live in Uglyville and are educated to believe that turning pretty is the most important thing that can happen in your life. Once you are pretty life will be easy for you. After all, according to the book its biological that when you are pretty you appear vulnerable and everyone will want to help you. Being pretty is being better. On your 16th birthday you went into Pretty town where you undergo an operation. They open you up, ground down the bones to the right shape, some are padded or stretched, nose cartilage and cheekbones are stripped and replaced with programmable plastic, skin is sanded off and reseeded, eyes are laser cut for perfect vision, reflective implants are inserted to add sparkling flecks, muscles are trimmed up, baby fat is sucked out and teeth are replaced with strong ceramics. Everyone who becomes pretty looks similar with little uniqueness. However, there is a secret that comes with this operation which I won’t reveal. The main protagonist is Tally Youngblood. Like all Uglies she is excited and all about turning pretty. However, she meets a new friend Shay who is not excited at all. Shay introduces her to a world outside the Pretty system. Shay claims that people live as Uglies outside in the wild, in a society called the Smoke. When Shay leaves to pursue this freedom Tally is forced to find her and reveal the location of the Smoke if she wants to be Pretty. The ones forcing her are a terrifying group of Pretties called Special Circumstances led by Dr. Cable. Tally is all about exposing the Smoke but when she gets there she learns being Pretty isn’t everything and there is a lot they have hidden from her. She even experiences love. The leader of the Smoke is David, a boy about Tally’s age. He teaches Tally how to live in nature. Tally does a lot of maturing in the book but she always retains some bit of her pretty is everything belief. It seemed that every time Tally went to do something good in the book, bad things would happen. Even with all her good intentions Tally struggles to overcome many obstacles. Tally is an excellent character. She has her flaws but she acts as anyone would in her situation. The story is futuristic and includes hoverboards, wall screens, and more. We as a society today are referred to as the Rusties.The Rusties’ downfall was caused by our dependence on oil. Someone invented a virus that turned oil extremely flammable (so much that it explodes when it touches oxygen) and when it explodes the smoke carries the virus to new oil deposits. We are portrayed by the Pretties as a horrid race that would burn trees and consume animals. I believe this book series is more female oriented and I would strongly recommend to all girls. There are some boys who may like it. Overall I would recommend this book.
The next books in the trilogy is Pretties followed by Specials. There is a companion novel called Extras as well.