Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Uglies by Scott Westerfield

   Okay, so this is a really old book.

   I've actually read this one once before, way back in grade school. {That's how freakin' old it is.} It's part of a series, which I'm fairly certain I got at least halfway through, seeing as I own the first two books in paperback. Anyway, I decided to give it another go this month to try to ease myself back into the YA genre, mostly because I recalled it to be a decent read.
   UGLIES is a YA dystopian novel, but it was published before YA dystopian novels became cool in the teen-sphere. The basic premise is set in a world where looking normal makes you 'Ugly.' As an Ugly, you live with other Uglies in Uglyville. {Or something like that. You know, something with 'ville' or 'town' as a suffix.} However, once you hit sixteen, you're carted off for a long and complicated cosmetic surgery ordeal, and when that's done, your entire face changes. You're gorgeous. And it's off across the river and into New Prettyville you go.
   The book is centered around an Ugly named Tally Youngblood. I'm going to lay it out straight for you: she's a fucking moron. But she's not as big of a moron as many of YA literature's heroines, seeing as she has some common sense and is actually somewhat clever and funny. It's just that whole sequence where she tries to decide whether or not the Smoke sucks that kind of ruined her for me. Plus, why the fuck would you throw the necklace in the fire? Obviously there's some kind of fail safe in case you get hurt or killed so the Specials can swoop in and pick up your mangled corpse from whatever pit it fell into. Stupid impulsive teens.
   Anyway, although Tally was all kinds of frustrating, she wasn't a bad character. Overall, I found her to be pretty relatable and very human. There's a noticeable difference between realistically flawed and too stupid to live, after all. However, she didn't really stick out to me: she wasn't very interesting or unique. In fact, most of the cast seemed pretty... Bland. It was mostly world-building that kept me going, which sucks, because, personally, getting immersed in the characters is what really hooks me into a book.
   The plot itself was decent. Not too action-packed, though, and the twists weren't that surprising. Then again, I've read this before, so maybe somewhere, in the back of my subconscious, I was able to see everything coming. Like déja vu.
   I think the romantic elements were handled well, but since I wasn't all that attached to the characters, I couldn't really immerse myself in the romance and love triangle and all of that. Mostly I just sat there, thinking, 'okay, well that happened,' which I don't think is ideal for any romance. However, it wasn't insta-love, and it wasn't forced; you could actually kind of see the characters falling in love, and it was pretty much adorable.
   I don't have a lot more to say about this book, but I might read the sequel, PRETTIES, as part of my Winter Break reading cluster. It should be fun!