Friday, December 26, 2014

Teen review: Dystopian

The book Uglies was written by Scott Westerfeld and contains 432 pages. It is a dystopian book describing the roller coaster life of a young teen named Tally Youngblood, who is part of a new society in the future. Tally Youngblood is like any other teen in her city waiting till she finally turns 16. Why is turning 16 so important? It’s not because you finally get to drive, since cars no longer exist. It’s because she will finally be a Pretty. On her sixteenth birthday she will be taken to the hospital to be put "under the knife.” She wants to be pretty so badly, especially since her best friend Peris is already a Pretty living the glamorous life in Prettytown, partying all night. During Tally’s time awaiting her birthday she makes an unexpected friend named Shay, who surprisingly shares the same birthday with her. During their time spent together before their birthdays, they do what they enjoy: hoverboarding and playing pranks.

One thing they don’t have in common, however, is becoming a Pretty. While Tally is eager, Shay is completely against it. She doesn’t like the mindset of the society she lives in. Tally doesn’t see Shay’s point of view. Shay tries to convince Tally to come to the Smoke, a rumored town where the whole Ugly/Pretty system does not exist, with her , but Tally declines. Shay leaves anyway and Tally continues on to become a Pretty, her dream. Instead of Tally becoming a Pretty, though, she is taken away to be questioned about Shay’s disappearance. From here Tally Youngblood’s life takes an interesting twist and doesn’t go back, her life changes forever. Read the book to find out why her world tips upside down. Two more books called Pretties and Specials finish off this exhilarating series, but the roller coaster doesn’t stop there: A fourth book called Extras adds, well, a little extra to the series.

I truly enjoyed reading this book and suggest it to middle and high schoolers. I personally read it as a ninth grader. This book accurately portrays the insecurities of teenagers and the message it was trying to get across--“you are perfect the way you are”--which may sound like a cheesy one, but is really extremely important. I loved how the character Tally is very relateable; her internal battles and questioning are ones that everyone experiences even if the situation may be different. Both Tally’s heroics and her imperfections make her human and real. I would say this book has similar ideas to the Divergent series and The Hunger Games, both of which I have read and enjoyed as well.

This book is around a 4, better than most, but not one of those books that I couldn’t go anywhere without. It was still a really enjoyable novel and Scott Westerfeld is an inspiring writer.

Reviewed by Marlena S., grade 9

Editor's note: Did you know there are also now graphic novel spin-offs of this series, starting with Uglies: Shay's Story? Pretty cool...

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