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. But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world -- and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.- Summary from Goodreads
I'd heard a lot about this series but haven't gotten around to reading them until now. I thought the world that Westerfeld created in Uglies was a fascinating one. I am a little confused about how this whole world works still though. The teenagers live in Uglyville in dorms and don't seem to have many responsibilities except school which is mentioned but doesn't seem to be a priority, though the reason behind that becomes apparent later.
When they turn 16 everyone has the operation to make them 'pretty' and then they move to New Pretty Town where they do nothing but party and drink. No jobs or anything. Sounds nice on the surface but then I had to wonder, who pays for all this? The government? That's a lovely explanation but how does the government provide all this? They are doctors and some type of law enforcement so I assume that at some point these kids do go out and get jobs. I was just really curious if they then pay taxes or if it's a more of a strange type of communist government where everyone works for the government and in return the government provides everything. I'm hoping that the following books in the series help to clear some of that up because it's something I really wondered a lot about while I was reading.
I really enjoyed Tally and I really connected with her. For the most part, she's just a go with the flow kinda girl though she enjoys the occasional taste of rebellion. I relate to that and I get why she wanted nothing more than to be pretty. It's all she knew and besides, if all your friends got makeovers and went to a fabulous party and you weren't invited? Well, that would suck, wouldn't it?
I thought it was a fun dystopian series that raises a lot of question about how we see beauty, acceptance, government control and even environmentalism and peer pressure. It all ends with a killer cliffhanger and I'm looking forward to picking up the next book in the series.