Simon Pulse - YA/Dystopian
I bought Uglies last weekend when I was all reading-slumpy after finding out a friend's son was killed in Afghanistan. After a couple of days of bawling and finding it impossible to concentrate, Uglies saved the day. It's light; it's dystopian (a worse world than ours is always helpful when you're feeling bad about your own). It was perfect for the moment.
****Warning* - This review may contain spoilers. I hope not, but you never know and I'm too polite not to warn you. ****
Tally lives in a world that is divided by looks and age. Children, or "littlies" spend the first years of their life at home, with their Pretty, surgically-enhanced parents. At the age of 12, youngsters leave their parents and attend boarding schools in Uglytown (or, maybe it's Ugly Town -- I can't be bothered to look, at the moment . . . too tired) till they reach the magical age of 16. At 16, they graduate and are taken for the surgery that will make them physically perfect, then they can live in New Pretty Town.
Pretties are privileged. Uglies spend their time looking forward to becoming Pretties, calling each other ugly nicknames, playing tricks on each other and finding ways to sneak out of the dorms. Special Pretties patrol on hovercars to keep the Uglies in their place; bridges and hoverboards tattle on those who try to break the rules and leave the zones in which they belong; interface rings track people.
Tally just wants to hurry up and become a Pretty. Since her childhood best friend, Peris, has already been 16 for several months, Tally is lonely and eagerly awaits the day she can rejoin Peris. She misses him so much that she decides to sneak across the river to New Pretty Town for a visit. But, the Pretties spot her and she has to make some quick and clever maneuvers to get away. In the process, she meets another daring Ugly, Shay.
Shay and Tally find out they have the same birthday, immediately become friends and begin sneaking out and playing tricks together. Shay teaches Tally how to use a hoverboard and how to trick it so that she can't be tracked. She takes Tally further into the ruined city where the Rusties used to live before disaster struck, guides her on longer trips to a place where nature rules and, eventually, reveals her secret: Shay has no interest in becoming a Pretty. Instead, she wants to escape to a place called the Smoke, where a group of people who don't want to go through the surgery hide out and live in the old-fashioned way.
When Shay disappeares close to their birthday, she leaves a cryptic note behind -- just in case Tally wants to join her. Tally misses her new friend. But, she still just wants to be a Pretty and chooses to go through with her operation so she can move on with her life. And, that's when things get complicated. Instead of being taken in for her surgery, Tally is escorted to Special Circumstances, where she's given an ultimatum: Find Shay and the rest of the Uglies who have escaped to the Smoke or remain an Ugly, forever.
****Okay, I think it's safe, now.****
Good golly, Miss Molly. I had no idea what a fun, fascinating dystopian tale I was voluntarily missing out on by letting a title sway me. I'm so glad I bought Uglies!! It's entertaining, thought-provoking, and I want to buy the next book immediately. It's more than just an enjoyable tale; it's a social commentary that hits on some thoughts I've had, myself. My ugly face and I have thought about such things. Anyway, I want Pretties, now!!!! Only, that's not going to happen, at least until Saturday. Thank goodness for Borders and their hoopty fine weekly coupons. Please, please, please have a copy of Pretties, O people at the Flowood Borders!!!!
There were times I thought Mr. Westerfeld screwed up a little on his world-building, but then he managed to explain whatever I thought was missing and I had to give myself a lecture. I really enjoyed this book. It's a 5/5, for me.
This is my first book read for the YA Dystopian Challenge.
In other news:
Carpet! We have carpet!!! I'm so excited!!! And, now I can really see just how dinky my den is, but that's okay. It's soft! It's not bare concrete!!! I can do aerobics, again . . . or will be able to when we move the TV into that room. I have sooo missed my den. Two years we went without a den -- so long that we gave away our couch so we'd have a place to walk. That's a long time to go without a den in a fairly small house with no basement, let me tell ya.
Books, books, books!!! - Way too many have arrived in the past week. I got a lecture from my teenager about the influx, actually. One time, he even ran away with a parcel in his hands and wouldn't let me see what UPS had brought me! But, then he gave it back. Big meanie. Among other things, my copy of The Bible Salesman by Clyde Edgerton has finally arrived, which made me say something to the effect of, "Squeeee!" I also received a copy of A Novel Idea - a book about writing Inspirational Fiction, for review. Very timely with NaNoWriMo coming soon.
From Paperback Swap, I received The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough (SuziQ's fault), Briar Rose by Jane Yolen (Andi gets the blame), Covered Wagon Women: Diaries & Letters from the Western Trails, 1850 (Sharon is guilty) and Handling Sin by Michael Malone (blame my book buddy Bob).
ARCs of Spellbinder by Helen Stringer and Cherries in Winter by Suzan Colon have recently arrived.
From Audra, the Magnificent Publicist of B & B Media, I have recently received No Idea by Greg Garrett -- not sure I mentioned that, last week, but I'm reading it. She also sent The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason, The God Sightings Bible and its Companion Guide (reading it, too -- it's a chronological Bible, so I can read it and also use my new Mosaic Bible, which means I have a super cool life) and I have a copy of The Church of Facebook on its way. Now, you know why I adore Audra.
From Hatchette, I got Life After Genius by M. Ann Jacoby and A Climate for Change by Hayhoe and Farley (reading - loving).
Sterling Kids sent me two beautiful illustrated classics: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, illustrated by Robert Ingpen and The Wizard of Oz, illustrated by Charles Santore. Even my husband gasped at their beauty. And, he's really not interested in anything but business, history and How People Seriously Screwed Up and Everyone Died books (you know, Charge of the Light Brigade type mistakes).
The only question I have is "When the heck am I going to find the time to read all of them?" I shall do my darndest.
I have a guest post scheduled for tomorrow, but haven't heard from the guest as of tonight. If he doesn't show up, next up will be my review of The Maze Runner, which was so totally awesome that I had to let it roll around in my head for a while. You know how that goes.
I have to go to bed, now, so I'm sending out happy, smiley fairy dust, wishes for health and excellent reading material, and a request for someone to bring a wheelbarrow to take away some of my older books. Nighty-night bookish ones!
Bookfool. Yeah. Still buried. Not looking hopeful that we'll dig out anytime soon.