I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.
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... (source)
I first read this book as a member of the book club that my middle school librarian ran. We read it very shortly after it was first published, so, based on the copyright date, I believe that means I read it as a seventh grader... at the time, I adored it. This was the first dystopia that I read, aside from The Giver, and I remember thinking that the concept was so brilliant and original, yet so simple. Uglies certainly takes things to extremes, but our society is very preoccupied with looks - while extreme, the premise isn't completely unfounded.
I didn't remember too much of this book when I picked it up a few weeks ago. I read it as a potential candidate for the mother-daughter book club that I'm starting for my internship. The club is targeted at 10-12 year old girls, and since I read this at around that age, I thought it might be a good possibility. But all I remembered going in this time around was the basic premise and that I loved it at 12.
Unfortunately, this time around, I wasn't as impressed. The plot was much slower-moving than I'd remembered - it takes forever for Tally to actually get out to the Smoke - and I honestly didn't think that Westerfield's writing style was very impressive. Tally could be incredibly whiny at times, especially in the beginning, and some of the choices that she made were just plain stupid. Obviously she's just barely 16 so maybe the common sense thing just hasn't kicked in yet, but a little more intelligence in the main character would be appreciated! That being said, I do still feel the same way about the premise of this book - for a dystopia, I feel that it's very original. Also, while parts of the book did drag, the ending made me want to go pick up the next installment, Pretties, as soon as possible. I'm not going to because I simply have too many other books to read right now, but eventually, this is a series that I would like to finish.
I don't think that this a book that I'm going to propose for my mother-daughter book club, at least not at the first meeting. I think it's well-suited for middle-school age girls, but I'm possibly going to have 10-year-olds and some of the subject matter is just a bit mature for them, in my opinion. At this very early stage in my career, I just don't feel comfortable with testing the limits of controversial material. However, if after the first meeting of my book club I find that it consists of mostly 12 year olds, this could definitely be a book that I propose at a later meeting. I think that junior high-age girls would love this just as much as I did when I first read it.