Thursday, 16 June 2011

Review: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies (The Uglies 1)

Title: Uglies
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Series: #1 of The Uglies
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Dystopian,
Age restriction? Teens, 12+
Published: 10 May 2006

 While this is a serious and thought provoking book, I just didn't enjoy the character or the story at all.

Description: 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.  ...more
REVIEW: I wanted to enjoy this book. I mean, a critical look at and deconstruction of our appearance obsessed culture and a dystopian glance at the extremes to which it can be taken - YES PLEASE. As the mother of two very young daughters, my heart withers daily as I see the glorification of impossible beauty standards and the ridicule of those not conforming them, always knowing that this excessive obsession with appearance will damage them, the question is just how much.
However, I'm very sorry to say that I just couldn't get into this book. First off, I found Tally to be completely unsympathetic. While I understand that she is the product of her culture and society (aren't we all?) and I enjoyed her adventurous side, I found her cowardly, untrustworthy and just dull. Maybe if she was just a bit more like her friend, Shay, in the beginning at least asking questions or wondering about the status quo and how it's all supposed to make sense - because it doesn't, not really, how can a society like that function? - before being thrown into a situation where she's shown how it doesn't make sense, I would have felt differently? I can't honestly say.

I also found the plot desperately predictable and unsurprising and the writing mostly uninspiring. While I did enjoy the other characters Tally met during her stay at Smoke (Yay, Croy!) and the conversations with David about appearance, it was all very predictable and formulaic. Even the "shocker" cliffhanger-ish end was something I saw coming from miles away. 

I feel bad for giving it only two, but I really just did not enjoy the book at all.


  1. Thank you for giving us an honest review! If the main character isn't very relatable that would just ruin it for me. I had thought about reading this series previously, but now I'm definitely having second thoughts. And I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the book, I hate when I finish one and I just feel "blah" about it.

  2. It's been a long long long time since I read this book. But I do remember not loving it enough to move onto the other books in the series. My book club actually read it so if you are interested in seeing what other people though about it go to this link:


  3. Thanks for the feedback!

    Jamie: Ugh, I hate that too, thanks for the sympathies! I'm also heavily p. o. ed that such a potentially great theme was butchered.

    MAL: Thanks for the link! I know that many, many people loved the book, I wish I did too :(