The Uglies- Scott Westerfeld… 3 out of 5
(Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras)
This is a hard review to write. I didn’t DISLIKE this series, but I also won’t read it again. This series felt kind of like high school. As in… trying to fit in, but being outcast from the “pretty” people, the cliques, eating disorders (more later about my irritation over this bit), and the frenemy relationships…
There are a few things I don’t like:
—Tally’s love interests flip like a switch. It’s bad enough that I was given another female protagonist who whines excessively (at first), but for her to “love” David, then Zane. I know there was some memory modification in there, but it still irked me. How did Zane & Tally fall so madly in love?
—The Slang is SUPER irritating. Every dystopia needs slang. I get it. But there’s such an over-use, I sometimes got frustrated reading “bubbly”, “icy” “kickers”, etc… and the word “littlies” was particularly annoying to me for some reason.
—The Cutters. I took issue with the way Mr. Westerfeld portrayed “cutters”, like it was cool. Like cutting yourself is a good way to release your feelings. She only quit cutting because Zane didn’t like it! really…It’s not exactly a good message. It works, I know, I used to be that girl. But that doesn’t mean I want YA’s who read this book to be encouraged to cut themselves.
—The calorie purger packets, a sub for diet pills. Tally mentions (multiple times) that there used to be a disease where people starved themselves to look “pretty”… then she binges and purges with the calorie packets… not a good message for YA’s. Maybe I just thought too hard about it?
—The characters fell flat/ shallow. I would have loved more David, and Zane had potential but ended up being too emo for me.
Things I liked:
—The surgeries. I like that it could explain the How of everything that happens when you become a Pretty or a Special.
—The world. Independent cities, separated by massive amount of wilderness, with the remains of the Rusty people sprinkled throughout. I also like the background, esp the oil eating bacteria. It’s an interesting end to a society.
Final, somewhat random, thoughts:
—Tally’s personal growth… She turned into an OK character by the end of Extras. Although she was still SUPER whiney and totally concerned with self-preservation, and being “special” over ANYTHING else. I like that she seemed to try to be a better person, the struggle was there (sometimes).
—At times, I enjoyed the Frenemy relationship that Tally and Shay had. At times, it irked the bejesus out of me.
—I think Mr. Westerfeld tried to discuss too many themes in one story. In my opin it got jumbled, and unclear. Like he grazed the surface, but was afraid to go any deeper.
—The excessive Surg/ body modification was, um, interesting. I didn’t hate it, I’m just not sure what the message was supposed to be. Although the facial tattoos didn’t give me pause.
—Extras only earned 2 stars… I wanted more Tally from the beginning, it took me a few chapters to realize it was a different city then we’d been to before, and I’m not generally a fan of the Japanese subculture (no offence intended, sorry).
Hmph. Overall unimpressed. Stick with The Hunger Games for YA dystopian fiction. I’ll stick with my favorites (1984, Fahrenheit 451). You know… the classics.