by Scott Westerfeld
reviewed by Katherine Lund
Choices give us the chance to create the lifestyle that we want for ourselves. In the book, Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld, the protagonist, Tally Youngblood, is only a few months away from turning sixteen which means getting the operation that will turn her into a “pretty” and reunite her with her already pretty friend Peris. This sounds like the ultimate lifestyle to Tally until she meets “ugly” Shay, a fun loving and adventure-seeking girl who has different views on the operation and turning pretty. Throughout the story, Tally becomes enveloped in making choices that involve consequences for herself, her pretty friends and family and her new best friend, Shay.
Tally and Shay are on the path to turn pretty when Shay does the unthinkable; she runs away to a mysterious place called the Smoke. Shay forces Tally to promise not to tell anyone about her running away. On her sixteenth birthday, Tally is about to become a pretty when her operation is halted. She is forced to meet people in the pretty world that have gone through the operation but look mean and have high authority. They tell her she cannot turn pretty unless she leads them to the Smoke and all of the runaways…including Shay. Does this mean Tally will have to break her promise? Does this mean that she will never become a pretty, something she’s always dreamed of? Conflicting choices revolve around Tally when all she really wants to do is escape the drama and live a normal life.
This wonderfully compelling novel teaches readers how each choice we make not only affects ourselves but it also affects the people around us. Westerfeld keeps readers engaged by using vivid imagery to describe the setting through the eyes of Tally. Uglies takes readers on a journey of choices and consequences that ultimately make up each person as a human being.