5 out of 5 stars.
From Amazon: Tally lives in a world where your sixteenth birthday brings aesthetic perfection: an operation which erases all your flaws, transforming you from an 'Ugly' into a 'Pretty'. She is on the eve of this important event, and cannot wait for her life to change. As well as guaranteeing supermodel looks, life as a Pretty seems to revolve around having a good time. But then she meets Shay, who is also fifteen - but with a very different outlook on life. Shay isn't sure she wants to be Pretty and plans to escape to a community in the forest - the Rusty Ruins - where Uglies go to escape ' turning'. Tally won't be persuaded to join her, as this would involve sacrificing everything she's ever wanted for a lot of uncertainty. When she is taken in for questioning on her birthday, however, Tally gets sent to the Ruins anyway - against her will. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she could ever imagine: find her friend Shay and turn her in, or never turn Pretty at all. What she discovers in the Ruins reveals that there is nothing 'pretty' about the transformations...And the choice Tally makes will change her world forever.
This is not the first time I have tried to read Uglies. I tried to read it three or four years ago but I soon abandoned it as I wasn't a fan of Sci-Fi books and I couldn't seem to relate to it. Since then I have read Leviathan by the same author and loved it so much that I was desperate to read more of his work.
Uglies has not disappointed me this time- I literally raced through it. Tally, the main character, is immediately engaging and relatable. She is a rebel but still follows the rules of being ugly without coming across as being feeble. She is apprehensive about her upcoming operation to become pretty but she accepts it as a part of growing up. Teenagers reading this could relate to the feelings of uncertainty that turning 16 (and thus being grown up) brings and having more freedom is not quite as great as it first seems!
Uglyville and New Pretty Town are described with such detail that it's very easy to imagine being there with the characters. For some reason I envisioned it as being Brooklyn vs Manhattan, I think it was just the description of the Bridge and looking out towards the skyscrapers of Pretty Town!
Uglies has now been re-jacketed in a CCTV Big Brother style which I feel is a lot more modern and eye-catching than the old barbie doll in a surgical dish, which although it was important to the story, gave it a rather dull look.
I will be purchasing the rest of this series soon- I need to find out what happens to Tally next!