uglies by scott westerfield audiobook

PhotobucketUglies by Scott Westerfeld
Narrated by Carine Montbertrand
12 hours and 19 minutes
Published 2006 by Recorded Books (first published February 8th 2005)
Source: library
1st in a series of 4 books
Goodreads summary:

Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that? Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. Not for her license — for turning pretty. In Tally’s world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to be pretty. She’d rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

My thoughts: This was a dystopian, taking place in a world where everyone was ‘Pretty.’ Becoming pretty was as simple as a medical procedure immediately after a sixteenth birthday. Until then, everyone was an Ugly, no matter what they looked like. When Tally’s new friend Shay ran away to The Smoke, Tally had to track her down and turn her in or she would have ended up Ugly for life. I found the plot to be unique and thought Westerfield presented it in an interesting way. He made it seem like this was a normal way of life for these people, not just some weird science experiment.

The dialogue was different, though not hard to follow. There was a lot of invented slang (i.e. crumblies, middles, littlies) and futuristic things (i.e. hoverboards and bungee jackets) but the basics were easy to get. The kids didn’t have much respect for the authority figures in their lives and it showed in the way they spoke. The characters weren’t remarkable or even unlikable. They were just…average. Tally was desperate to become Pretty and I found her level of commitment to having the procedure a little over the top. Although, in a world where this was simply the norm, that made sense. Shay and Peris were underutilized, I thought. I never really learned much about Shay or why she chose to join The Smoke. Peris was almost a noncharacter and I didn’t understand why Tally wanted to join him so very badly. I thought David was the most complete character in the book, and he was also my favorite.

There was a bit of romance and I thought it was realistic and sweet. There were lots of adventures and plenty of action, mostly after Shay disappeared and Tally set off to find her. The trigger that led to the final battle was so predictable, I didn’t appreciate that. As soon as it happened, I thought “Well, that was stupid. That’s going to end badly.”

I liked the narrator okay. Her voice was slightly grainy sounding, but I got used to it quickly. I liked that she didn’t try too hard to make the male voices sound low. Sometimes that can really backfire but she just lowered her pitch a tiny bit and I thought it was perfect.

The cover is fairly unremarkable, not giving away anything or hinting at what the book could be about.

The sum up: I really enjoyed this imaginative look at where our idea of beauty could lead us and will definitely be picking up the sequel.

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I love to hear your thoughts and read every single one of them.

  1. I loved this series, but I think my husband loved it even more (I made him listen to it and then he couldn’t stop sitting in the car when he got home from work :)).

  2. I remember reading the first book (and about half of the second) probably around the time they first came out. They were kind of boring for me, but I did find the idea very creative.

    I also like these versions of the covers compared to the new all white ones, where the blanket is over the persons face. Those ones really creep me out!!!

    • thebusybibliophile says:

      I know what you mean – I am not a fan of those white sheet covers. Talk about bland…

  3. David was definitely my favourite character too! He is awesome and in my head looks like Aragorn from LOTR! Bit rough and ready. Lol. You’re right about Peris as well- total non character. We barely see him so it’s hard to care about him. Great review x

  4. I do believe that the characters become more into focus as you continue the series. Peris was another reason to see why she so badly wanted to be pretty. Shay was very much a dare devil and went much futher with her “tricks” which led her to david and the smoke. Without these two characters tally would have never knew about the smoke, dr cable would have had no reason to send her there to turn shay in so she could be pretty and be with david. Its all implied! Great review! Love the books

    • I do believe that the characters become more into focus as you continue the series. Peris was another reason to see why she so badly wanted to be pretty. Shay was very much a dare devil and went much futher with her “tricks” which led her to david and the smoke. Without these two characters tally would have never knew about the smoke, dr cable would have had no reason to send her there to turn shay in so she could be pretty and be with PERIS (not david as stated above). Its all implied! Great review! Love the books

  5. J.J. Bonds says:

    This was such an amazing series! I was late discovering it, but it was one of my first dystopian reads so Scott Westerfeld’s got a special place on my bookshelf! Shay was actually one of my favorite characters and plays a much bigger role as the series progresses! Def recommend sticking with it!