Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pretties - Scott Westerfeld

Read Kari's review for the first book in this series, Uglies. And for the love of Pete, do not read this review if you don't want to know what happens in the first book.

Summary: Gorgeous. Popular. Perfect. Perfectly wrong.

Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she's completely popular. It's everything she's ever wanted. But beneath all the fun — the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom — is a nagging sense that something's wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally's ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what's wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.

Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life — because the authorities don't intend to let anyone with this information survive. (Summary and image from

My Review: Despite all her hard work, Tally still ends up with the cosmetic and mind altering surgery the rest of her hometown community undergoes. It was part of the plan, but the principle of the matter was to not get the surgery. Tally is doing what she can to make up for giving away the location of the Smokies, compromising the safety of everyone who had worked so long and hard to stay hidden.

It seems Tally's most consistent vice is betraying those she cares about most. In this book she resolves to make up for it. After receiving the surgery, a message is delivered to her that sparks her distant memory. This leads her on a new mission: to reveal the truth about the pretty-making surgery. She is also the guinea pig for a reversal pill counteracting the mind-altering surgery.

As usual, Westerfeld masterfully throws in many twists, turns, angst, mistakes and miscommunication that makes the book more than a trite novel. Tally has faults, but she's also endearing because underneath all her actions is a desire to do what is right. Perceptions of betrayal are also realistically portrayed, because in the teen years this tends to occur in female relationships at some point, and over some boy.

The power-hungry Specials are out for Tally. The depth of the Specials isn't fully explored in this book, which is what drives the reader to pick up the third in the series. I have to admit the description of the Specials is enough to give anyone the creeps--extra strength, speed, almost indestructability and the creepy sharp features and nails. It makes you wonder what kind of people would purposefully give almost an entire nation a labotomy while at the same time painting a vivid picture of what that person would really be like. A little author help in the reasoning processes there.

This book doesn't end the series, so again it is left open for The Specials. I can't say Pretties was better than Uglies because the Uglies really hooks the reader and sets the stage for the rest of the series. Pretties is probably my least favorite, but overall is still a good book. It would just be my least favorite of the four books.

Again, the vernacular is there again in this book: Tally-wa, dizzy-making, bubbly, etc. I'll say it again. Despite creating a realistic world of teen language, it is VERY annoying after a while.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Sum it up in a phrase: More thought-provoking material about control, betrayal, friendship, beauty, the complexities of love, and power.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

My little sister read this series, and completely loved it! I was really surprised the other day, when I was in lds books to find them there. I decided to jump on the sale that they were having and bought all three of them. I think that she is going to love the Christmas surprise.


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