I love doing this Pop Sugar Reading Challenge because it's really opened up my eyes to some books that I would've otherwise passed right by and probably not given a second thought to. Then again, I sometimes fear I'll never actually finish it because sooooooooo many of the books I love to read, like YA and romance, are popping up every time I blink my eyes. I'll never have a shortage of things to read, that's for sure!
Anyhow, one of the books for the challenge that I had to read is one that is "set in the future." I chose the book Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, which is the first book in a trilogy that also includes Pretties and Specials. I had never even heard of this one but the synopsis sounded really interesting.
Uglies is set approximately 200 years in the future in a sort of dystopian world where everyone is "ugly." Everyone waits for the day they turn 16 because then they get to have an operation to finally turn them pretty. Pretties live in another part of town where they have parties all the time, have loads of fun, and everything in life is just perfect, including their looks. The only problem is that the main character, Tally, meets a new friend, Shay, shortly before her 16th birthday who puts some doubts into her mind about whether being a Pretty is all it's cracked up to be.
When Shay runs away before her own operation, Tally must choose whether to go out into the Smoke to find her and turn her in or risk staying ugly forever.
I really liked this story and how the author developed his Tally character. She goes back and forth, and back and forth yet again like any teenager would in trying to figure out what to do. She deals with real teen problems like love and best friends, loyalty and authority. Westerfeld does a nice job portraying her as the average teen and makes her a very real and believable character.
Although the concept behind the plot at times seems a little too "easy," I still think there's a lot behind it. What we as a society feel is perfect and pretty isn't always so great behind the scenes. There's something behind all that beauty that often times isn't so pretty at all and that's what the author is trying to get across. He also tries to show us that being ugly is all a state of mind. For instance, when David tells Tally how beautiful she is, she can't fathom that he could even think that because she's been told she's ugly her entire life. David, however, never having lived in "Uglyville" knows and understands the true difference between being ugly and being pretty.
This is a great book and I could see it being a mandatory reading for high school literature classes. I think a lot of teens could relate to this story and learn from it as well.