I know it’s been a long time. I will admit, I got busy, and I had sort of lost the motivation to continue. But I’m back now, and hopefully I can be more regular about my posts!
Pretty is a relative term. If you’re a person of average beauty, and you’re standing next to a supermodel, you’re going to feel ugly. And in the world of Tally Youngblood, everyone is a supermodel; that is, except for those under the age of 16. They’re called Uglies.
On her 16th birthday, though, Tally is going to become a Pretty by undergoing a cosmetic surgery, and she can’t wait. She can’t wait to be rid of her ugly face and body and her squinty eyes. She just wants to be beautiful, like everyone else.
The surgery is so that there is no chance for discrimination among the people; everyone is the same. They are all equally beautiful.
A few months before her birthday, however, Tally meets Shay, a troublemaker like herself, and they instantly become friends. They sneak out together and play pranks. But Shay is different. She doesn’t want to be Pretty, and Tally can’t figure out why.
Tongue Scale: rated “Slap On the Wrist”
There are three appropriate uses of “hell” and one use of “piss”.
Gore Gauge: rated “People Get Wounded”
There’s some fighting, and a few intense scenes, but nothing terrible in the slightest.
Firecracker Scale: rated “Kindling”
I don’t even remember if there was any kissing. And there certainly wasn’t much sexual content, so very clean in that aspect.
Other Negative Content:
“‘… And people killed one another over stuff like having different skin color.’ Tally shook her head. No matter how many times they repeated it at school, she’d never really quite believed that one.”
So now that Scott has brought up the issue of race, what does that mean for the Pretties? Do they all have white skin? Does that imply that people with different colored skin are not as beautiful? Just thinking out loud here.
At one point, Tally and Shay are looking through some old magazines from when the “Rusties” (people from before the apocalypse that changed their way of life) were still around. Shay is trying to prove to Tally that she isn’t ugly. However, Tally looks through the magazines with pictures of supposedly beautiful people, and she believes they’re ugly.
“‘You’re not ugly.’
‘Oh, come on, Shay.’
‘No, I mean it… Your profile is great.’
‘Don’t be weird, Shay. I’m an ugly, you’re an ugly…'”
Like I said at the beginning of this review, beauty is very relative. But everyone is beautiful. Some in different ways than others. In this story, the surgery took away all the things that make people truly beautiful: crooked smiles, unsymmetrical faces, distinctive noses, unique colored eyes… The imperfect characteristics that humans have that are inherited, passed down, and are incredibly endearing. And later on, when Tally meets another Ugly (ahem, a male, who immediately takes an interest in her), she finally starts to realize that just because you’re an Ugly, it doesn’t mean that you are ugly.
“What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful.”
As I mentioned in a recent speech I did for class, I almost didn’t read this book based solely on the title. It just never drew me in, and I never read the summary. Silly me.
I picked it up at a used bookstore out of curiosity finally, because the subtitle on the cover grabbed me: In a world of extreme beauty, anyone normal is ugly.
I really liked it, even though I had a few issues with the writing. It was mostly because Scott would throw some new term related to this author’s creative world at the reader, and I’d be like, “Uh, what is that?” However, that was easy to get over after the first few chapters, once I was somewhat familiar with the world of Tally Youngblood.
So an incredibly satisfying read. Go check it out.
(All quotes from Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld.)