Reading more broadly means you are surprised more often. I know I’m coming to the party very late in praising Uglies, but I devoured it this weekend. Just like with Lies of Locke Lamora, this is not my book, but I am in love with it anyway.
For the two of you out there who don’t know about Uglies, Tally Youngblood lives in a universe where, at the age of 16, everyone undergoes a beautification process that turns them from an adolescent ugly into a super model. And if you think you’ve seen something similar on a Twilight Zone episode, you’re right.
Complications ensue. Tally’s best friend Peris is waiting for her on the other side of the beautification process, but Tally’s new friend Shay doesn’t want to be beautiful. Tally is a realistic protagonist, caught between cultural conditioning and new discoveries, old loyalties and new knowledge.
Westerfield writes effortlessly. I am as pulled along by action as I am pulled into Tally’s hard moral decisions. I can see the city, the nature of the Smoke, the old ruins of the Rusties. I haven’t felt this passionate about an SF book since when I was a kid reading John Christopher’s Tripod books. The best ya is not only fantastic, but is often about awakening. This book hits all the bells and whistles.
I’m excited to read the next three, and will. As a writer, I could never write this kind of thing, so I’m glad Scott Westerfield is out there to do it for me.