Description: The Uglies Trilogy (UGLIES, PRETTIES, and SPECIALS) is a trilogy of books by Scott Westerfeld, and is a dystopian young adult series. It takes place in a post apocalyptic Earth in the different civilizations that have formed. They are highly advanced technologically and they refer to those in the past as Rusties (we used metals that rusted, they are focused highly on what we would consider ‘green’ living – nothing wasted and everything is recyclable) and are themselves very focused around making everyone the same.
Basically when the story starts she is considered an ugly. Their world has come to the conclusion that all of the problems are centered on the fact that there are prejudices and differences among people. So and extreme cosmological surgery happens when people turn sixteen and they are turned into someone who looks almost like everyone else. Only minor details are different. There are no races any longer, no differences in looks. The world is divided into twos. The uglies and the pretties. The uglies are those that have not gone through the surgery and the pretties are those that have. It’s to such an extreme that they even divide the two groups and keep them away from each other.
The trilogy starts with UGLIES and is focused on a young girl named Tally Youngblood. She is on the verge of her sixteenth birthday and is excited that soon she will be pretty and will be able to join her older friends in pretty town. What ends up happening is she meets a new friend named Shay and she enjoys the fact that their birthdays are right around each other and they can be best friends forever without having to wait for each other. But something is off about Shay; she is unusually unexcited for the surgery. Shay ends up running away; to somewhere she says that the surgery and being pretty is not important, they can be themselves. Tally stays behind and looks forward to her surgery. On her birthday though, instead she gets taken away and is recruited to find Shay by Special Circumstances (a government agency that deals with trouble makers) and to turn Shay and the people she ran to in to Special Circumstances. So she does it so she can get the chance to be Pretty and winds up in the camp with Shay, and David a boy who has never lived in a city where surgery is required. David and Tally fall in love, and David tells Tally a secret about the surgery. The surgery causes lesions that change a person’s personality. David’s mother, who is a surgeon, thinks she has a cure. But in order to test it she needs a consenting subject. So Tally makes a drastic decision, she decides to become Pretty even though she had changed her mind before.
Book two, PRETTIES, is what happens after Tally turns herself in. She is now pretty and so is Shay. But the bad thing is she doesn’t remember the plan, the liaisons in her head have erased all the memories of her life with David in the wild. She is your standard pretty. Enjoys parties and having fun. While at a party she meets a guy named Zane and starts to fall for him. At that same party she runs into one of her old buddies from the wild who gives her a message. With Zane, awhile later, she follows what it instructs in the letter. When they get to the end they find out that there are two pills left in an envelope for them. But time is running out, Special Circumstances has followed them and they each decide to take one of the pills. Months later, they are starting to feel some basic results from the pills and start acting out. The pills also cause them to do a giant prank that seems to have many repercussions. They decide to escape to the wild again, with a lot of the different pretties. The group runs into trouble and they all get separated, Tally ends up at a “reserve” where there is a very wild group of people (think some Indian tribes nowadays that have not progressed even to the point where we are today – people stuck in the distant past). Eventually Tally gets to the wilds and the group of people she escaped with (including David and his mother) and she finds out that Zane has gotten worse. They also find out that they’ve been tracked by a tracker in Zane’s tooth. Since Zane is too unstable to move, Tally and he stay behind. They get caught, and they are confronted by a cruelly changed Shay saying that Tally is going to be turned into a Special. An agent of Special Circumstances that has been changed to accommodate their new job.
The third book is SPECIALS and takes place after Tally has been changed to her newest form. In this book Tally has new abilities as a Special, and she also has new lesions. But even with these lesions, Tally is beginning to keep her memories and not be completely affected by them. As the story goes on, Shay and Tally once again journey into the wild to try and find David and his group again. We see Tally’s journey to discovering the world again, and herself. She runs into familiar faces and new ones. She discovers how to be herself and be special. She finds new cities that aren’t restricted by the surgery and lesions and she works to try and get her own city that way.
Review: I really like this series, but I was a little disappointed in the end of it. I like the character and how real she seemed to come out as. Tally was both naïve and haunted by her choices. She wanted to just be like everyone else but other people’s choices seemed to take that chance away from her.
The first book of the series was by far my favorite of the three. I liked how it flowed and I like the character development of it all. The second book was good as well but I kept hearing myself say “oh my god why is she doing that?” and that really pulled me away from it. By the third I really struggled to enjoy it. The ending was decent but not what I hope for.
One thing I did enjoy about this was that it was a male author writing as a female point of view. I haven’t really seen much of that. I’ve seen female doing male POV, I’ve seen male doing male POV, but from what I remember I really can’t say I have seen much of any male doing female POV. It was very well written and I didn’t seem to see any real “tainting” from the male perspective of a female life.
Rating: I think I’m going to give this series a 4 out of 5 as an average. Because of the downward spiral I felt with the end of the series and my love for the first one, I’ll only dock it one point right now.
Cara Mia Amore