It took me a while to get to this book, but it was worth the wait!
Westerfeld has a unique way of absorbing the reader into Tally Youngblood's world. Her world is in the future- a future where every sixteen-year-old has an operation to turn her from an "Ugly" into a "Pretty." They have been basically brainwashed to believe they are ugly until they have this operation. The uglies are separated from the pretties. Once you turn 12, you leave your parents and stay in dormitories until your magical 16th birthday where you are transformed from an ugly duckling to a swan.
The only problem is Tally can't get her operation because her friend Shay has skipped town in the cloak of darkness. The Special Circumstances Department has issued her the ultimate ultimatum: bring Shay back or "stay ugly forever." Which, to 16-year-old Tally is just about the worst news ever. Tally decides she is going to look for Shay, after all, she is worried about her and misses her. But will she be able to find her with her cryptic directions before time runs out? And if she finds her, will she be able to commit the ultimate betrayal? And will Tally find out the truth about the operation to turn you into a "Pretty"?
I like the dystopian theme, the theme of the quest for perfection spiraling pretty much out of control (it pretty much is out of control if every single person is having an operation), the theme of good v. evil, the theme of trusting your gut v. trusting what you have always known, the themes of love, betrayal, sacrifice, friendship. Lots to explore in this book and a great way to introduce dystopian themes to young adults.
Well, I, for one, stayed up half the night one night reading this book it had me so hooked. I am looking forward to reading the next one in the series, entitled "Pretties". We get to see what the world of an "Ugly" in Tally's world is about, and the next book we will get to see more into the mysterious world of a "Pretty".
THE STATISTICS: BOOK #: 58
RATING: 4 Stars
FOR CHALLENGES: YA Challenge, 1st in a Series, RYOB, New Authors, TwentyTen Challenge, Countdown Challenge, 100+ in 2010
GENRE: YA Fantasy