Scott Westerfeld’s science-fiction futuristic novel Uglies is the first book in what was originally a trilogy. Tally Youngblood eagerly awaits her 16th birthday when she will finally become a Pretty, joining the rest of her friends, family, and society by receiving surgery to make her physically, mentally, and attractively superior to the “ugly” littlies. While waiting for her birthday, Tally meets Shay, a fellow Ugly. Just before their shared birthday, Shay leaves the city in search of the mysterious city known as the Smoke – where some Uglies have gone to to escape the surgery. However, before Tally can be changed on her birthday, the secret police – the Specials, tell her she must leave the city and locate Shay and the Smoke or she will remain an Ugly forever.
This was a great, compelling young-adult novel. The science-fiction elements are very captivating, and although a little preachy at times (for example, the old civilization, the Rusties, destroyed their world with war and pollution), the futuristic aspects are really interesting. The descriptions in Uglies were so vivid, I could easily envision what was happening. The characters are also interesting, and for the most part, I didn’t have any problems with them. I really enjoyed the short chapters in the book, which help push the story along, and the way the book ends leaving you ready for and wanting to read the next book in the series – Pretties.