Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Division, 2011
The world of Tally Youngblood is centuries after the present day. In her world, when you turn sixteen you have ‘the operation’ which turns you from an “ugly” into a “pretty.” Before the operation everyone looks different (normal) and their physical flaws are on display. After the operation, everyone is virtually is remade – from their bones outward and become stunningly beautiful. This is the story of Tally who desperately wants the operation but because of her friendship with Shay, she must do the unthinkable if she wants to become a pretty.
Main characters –
· Tally, a senior “ugly” ready to graduate into a “new pretty”
· Shay, a senior “ugly” as well, but she doesn’t want to be a “new pretty”
· David, a young man who has grown up outside the world of “Uglyville”, “New Pretty Town” and “Crumblyville”
Secondary characters –
· Peris, Tally’s former best friend and ugly now turned into a new pretty
· Dr. Cable, a “middle pretty” who is also “Special Circumstances” and forces Tally to make a decision she doesn’t want to make
· Maddy & Az, David’s parents, former “middle pretties” and runaways from the City
Other characters –
· Croy, one of Shay’s friends and runaways
This dystopian novel is the first in a series of three plus one extra and is pretty good. I do like the character of Tally a lot; she is torn between two worlds and by choosing one over the other she destroys the one she didn’t choose. In the beginning she is jealous and lonely because Peris left her 3 months early to become a pretty. Then she meets Shay and her loneliness is abated for a while; when it is her turn to become pretty Shay runs away and, enter Dr. Cable with a condition of her operation – find Shay and then you’ll be pretty. She reluctantly agrees and it changes her life as well as the lives of everyone she meets.
I like Scott Westerfield’s writing a lot because he doesn’t give his female characters the over abundance of emotional upheavals that female writers so often do and I find so annoying. I really don’t need to know every single emotion that comes into a girl’s heart and mind to feel for her. He does a good job of slowly building the world in which Tally lives as well as what happened to the people before. Every dystopian novelist has to come up with a plausible explanation of why the world that we know no longer exists and his is reasonable and based in real scientific possibility.
Rating: 3 paws for the awesome hoverboards Tally and Shay ride all over the place and their quest for freedom.
Here’s some fan art of the characters!