Uglies by Scott Westerfield, Reviewed by Summer Jewell


Tally Youngblood is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait for the operation that turns everyone from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to party. But new friend Shay would rather hoverboard to “the Smoke” and be free. Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn’t very pretty. The “Special Circumstances” authority Dr Cable offers 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.

What would life be like if we were all “pretty”? Sure it may seem great at first. Who could complain about super model beauty? What about when normal is considered ugly? In Scott Westerfield’s Uglies, we get a glimpse into the future of “pretty”. With strong themes, interesting characters, and a brilliant plot, who wouldn’t like Uglies?

First of all, the theme completely amazed me. In the begining, I thought it was strange that the government actually encouraged plastic surgery, and that the main characters had to abandon society to find true beauty. As I continued reading the novel, I realized this way it was easier for the author to preach that independence is true beauty.When all we know is fake, how are you supposed to learn that pretty is more than a face, more than perfect hair or a thin body. The author teaches you that you can not manufacture pretty. Pretty is your mind, your heart, the ability to overlook someone’s flaws and see inner beauty.

Next, the characters caught my attention. We meet Tally Youngblood, a citizen of Ugly Town (where everyone lives until they turn pretty on their sixteenth birthday), who is completely abandoning her life. But really, Tally is playing both sides. She is the responsible citzen and the daring refugee, ever since her best friend dragged her into a mess of authority and freedom. Shay, her new, daring best friend has plans for and escape. Will they work? Will we ever ever meet David, a mysterious mountain man only Shay has heard of? Will he whisk Tally and Shay into a strange new land? Read to find out.

Lastly, the plot took me by suprise. Who new so much action could fit into that book? We begin with Tally, conflicted over the loss of her best friend Paris since he became pretty. Everything appears to be fine when she meets Shay. They have the same birthday, meaning they will turn pretty on the same day. But we reach a conflict again when Shay hatches plans to leave the city. From there Tally is taken on an insane journey, toying with authority and freedom. Is it possible Tally will never be pretty?

` Scott Westerfield accomplished a large feat by creating an interesting, meaningful novel. He managed to open my eyes to the flaws of the perception of beauty. Uglies is a winning book in my opinion, due to it’s inspiring theme, captivating characters, and action filled plot.


4 responses

    1. (Ms./Mrs.) Lidia,
      Thank you. If you wouldn’t mind, could you give me some advice on how to improve my introductory and concluding paragraphs?
      Thanks again,

  1. Summer,
    I love the way you started your piece, with a question that causes the reader to stop and think. It certainly got my attention and helped me to focus on the main theme of the book.

    I think that the use of questions throughout your body paragraphs was a good choice, they help to build suspense for the reader, which seems to be an important element in this novel. I can really tell, especially in your first body paragraph, that you made a strong connection to this novel and put a lot of thought into what you wanted the reader to know about the plot and characters. I get a sense from your word choice that you feel very passionate about the content in this novel, and that makes what you wrote all the more interesting and engaging. I love where you tell your audience ‘read to find out’. It was an interesting twist that I was not expecting!

    You have very clear, and insightful opinions in your conclusion and do a good job of tying your thesis from the introduction into it.

    I do have two suggestions for you for the next time you write a book review (or revise this one). I think that adding direct quotes from the text will help give your opinions support, and will give the reader a ‘sneak peek’ of the novel, which can help back up your opinions as to why this is a good book. I would also say that adding a little more length to your introduction and conclusion could help support your opinions and make your piece stronger, maybe adding a quote from the book to the introduction or elaborating on your opinions would be a good way to go. In the conclusion you could say who you would recommend this book to, what kind of reader might enjoy this novel?

    Overall I think that you have done a great job here. I can sense how much you enjoyed reading this book, and after hearing what you had to say and the way you describe the story I find myself wanting to read it and get the answers to all the questions you asked! My curiosity is intrigued by the way that you wrote this and that is wonderful!


    1. Dear Maggie,
      Thank you for your advice. I will definitely remember to add more quotes from the book into my writing, and to give a recommendation to potential readers. I’ll also make sure I elaborate more on my introductions and conclusions, because they were a little short.
      My teacher, Mrs. Baisden, has also mentioned direct quotations and recommendations on our rubrics. So, it’s very possible that putting your advice to use could also improve my score.
      If you wouldn’t mind, could you give me some advice on how to keep my introduction interesting and lengthy without losing my thesis? I have a little bit of trouble trying to stay on topic while keeping the reader’s attention.

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