[Review] Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

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Tally is only months away from turning 16. And that means she’s only months away from becoming Pretty. Tally has been dreaming about this moment her whole life. Soon she’ll be able to see Peris again, her best friend, in Pretty town. During one of Tally’s last “Ugly” tricks, Tally meets Shay. Shay is also and Ugly, she’s fun, and exciting, and shares Tally’s birthday. But perhaps the most interesting about Shay is that she doesn’t want to turn pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns that not everything in Pretty Town is as pretty as it seems. Tally has two choices now, Betray Shay and turn pretty or keep her friend’s secret and remain ugly for the rest of her life.

Writing (world building, characters, style, etc.): 

This book was fast and easy to read. The world building was well done and the characters were all pretty likeable. The story is based in a dystopian world, but unlike other dystopian novels, people here are happy. The whole purpose of their new social structure is to keep the people happy in order to avoid wars over color, race, and other physical differences. 

There were times when I wanted to dislike Tally, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t because her way of thinking wasn’t her fault. It was the result of what she had been taught, everyone around her, and the fear that if people started behaving like the Rusties (us) used to, the world would turn into chaos once again. I also couldn’t dislike Tally because she’s not stupid, she’s actually pretty reasonable when compared to other teenage protagonists.

I didn’t really feel one way or another toward the other characters.

Did I learn anything? Did it make me think?

I think most people are aware of the importance society places on looks. There have been many research done on how someone’s appearance either helps them or hinders them in getting a job or finding a potential partner. And of course, there’s the huge problem we still have with racism. This book made me wonder if a world were everyone looked the same and thought the same would be better.  Would  I be willing to give up my individuality and free will in exchange for happiness? I don’t think I would, and frankly I don’t think many people would either.

But then again, how much different would it be from how things are today? The internet is full of conspiracy theories about how the government and big businesses are controlling our minds. And they might be right, only probably in subtler ways. Everyday we are influenced by the media and those around us. We’re conditioned to think a certain way since we’re kids. 

I know I’m making this way too long but I have two stories to tell:

When I was a little girl, maybe around 5, I lived in Mexico with my relatives for a few years. I had a cousin, whom I only met once (if at all) and all my relatives would talk about how pretty she was because she was tall, blond and had fair skin. I used to think, “wow she must be so beautiful”, because that’s how they made her sound. And although no one ever said “dark skin is ugly”, and even though I can’t even remember what that cousin looked like, to this day, I find light skin more attractive. Had no one ever said that, I probably would feel completely different. I’m old enough to realize that that’s total BS, but the damage has been done. 

Second story: 

Well it’s not really a story, and I can only based my knowledge on the articles I’ve read and what my Korean friends have told me.

The South Korean government plans to rewrite history books and it plans to replace all history books with government- issued ones only. Of course there have been protests because it can be certain that whatever atrocities the government may have done will be erased or condoned. Just the fact that my student’s minds might be warped and manipulated like that makes my skin crawl.

If you are interested in knowing more about this issue, here is an article I found informative, and this one

Overall feelings:

Over all I think this book was good, it didn’t wow me, but it was good. It made me think and it was easy to read. The only problem was that at times it felt a bit slow and at times I felt insulted haha, but I think that’s also the point of the book. Not to insult you, but to make you think. I think the book lacked tension. There were many opportunities for tension, and maybe I just missed it due to the way it was executed, I don’t know. But it wasn’t as thrilling as it could have been. 

Score: 3/5 book 3 icon

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So I tried this new format for reviews, how do you guys like it? I promise my next reviews wont be as long!

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4 thoughts on “[Review] Uglies by Scott Westerfeld”

  1. Very interesting articles on South Korea! I didn’t know about this!

    Maybe there was something I didn’t understand about the articles but I do think history textbooks should teach the same history, not different truths. Also if current textbooks are leftist (or even support communism!) and non-critical towards N-Korea, those must be bad! + if they are published by private publishers… it doesn’t make any sense.

    THEN again, it seemed that they were using “leftism” as excuse to not talk about Japan’s war crimes etc. so not sure how truthful their textbooks will be.

    Liked by 1 person

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