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Specials and Tally in The Uglies Book Review

Reading can be bogus, or very unhappy-making, so how can reading be made bubbly? The answer is Scott Westerfeld s scientifically brilliant, fiction book called the Uglies. Reading can also open a door to a world of romance, mysteries, drama, and education; creating a magical allusion for the reader. In the book, Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld, he did more than open a door to another world, he actually created his own world! Most of the books on the fiction reading list offer romance, mysteries, drama, and education; but few offer an equal balance of all four.

Uglies is a book that offers all four of these elements plus more.

In Scott Westerfeld s book embraces a special message, fabricated with figurative language; the stories lack predictable, fairy tale endings. In high school, a teenager often faces the realities of: life vs. death; ugly vs. pretty; and love vs. rejection. Scott Westerfeld animates an image of these three realities and the principles learned with each by using his characters as victims or crims (criminals).

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Also, in Scott Westerfeld s book, he takes a more modern approach to using adjectives, using words like: bogus , unhappy-making , bubbly , and crims are just a sample of Westerfeld s diction.

Scott Westerfeld s purpose for creating the book Uglies is to question the order of the world surrounding human life, by creating a futuristic world he was able to highlight the problems that are seen in the reader s world. Offering more than one aspect for the reader to grow from, Uglies is the perfect book to have on the fiction reading list.

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Being Ugly: Tally Youngblood is the main character of the book Uglies. Although, she is the main character and also the protagonist, the reader doesn t always agree with Tally s point of view. Tally s world is different in structure from the reader s world.

The people in Tally s world are controlled, unable to think open-mindedly, and make decisions for themselves. The reader is able to see beyond Tally s ignorance, which is why the reader doesn t always agree with Tally s point of view. Scott Westerfeld does this to show the imperfection in Tally s world. Westerfeld really forces the reader to think and see beyond Tally s eyes, because what Tally sees as right isn t always right. Tally is an Ugly, and where she lives in Uglyville, everyone is considered Ugly. Only the people who live on the opposite side of the river in New Pretty Town are considered to be Pretty. Laughs from new Pretties partying, and fireworks blazing in the air are heard and seen from Uglyville. This is what builds up the anticipation to turn sixteen, because once an Ugly is sixteen he or she is able to be turned into a Pretty. The separation of the Uglies from the Pretties is similar to the separation that students face in school, between the out and in crowds. The students in the out crowds are the ones watching the in crowds have fun. This is one way that a reader might be able to relate to the book Uglies.

Scott Westerfeld allows the reader to feel the same disgust that Tally feels about being Ugly, by providing a clear description of Tally. She put her finger up to her face, felt the wide nose and thin lips, the toohigh forehead and tangled mass of frizzy hair (8). By not naming one positive aspect of Tally s appearance, Westerfeld allows the reader to think like Tally and all the other Uglies, who cannot see themselves as something beyond Ugly. The book starts off with Tally sneaking across the river to visit her friend, Peris, in New Pretty Town, that had recently become a Pretty.

In order to disguise herself Tally picks up an abandoned mask that was left on the streets of New Pretty Town, by a partying Pretty. Scott Westerfeld s diction in describing the mask against Tally s face is another example of how Uglies think. Before she pressed it against her face, Tally realized that it was the same color as the cat-vomit pink of the sunset with a long snout and two little pink ears&the mask settled on her face. (10) Westerfeld really painted an ugly picture of Tally s skin tone to the reader.

Choosing the words vomit pink instead of something a little on the softer note like bubble-gum pink . Scott Westerfeld also included how the Uglies perceive the Pretties, when Tally sees her old Ugly friend Peris, as a Pretty for the first time. But he was so pretty now. At school, they explained how it affected you. It didn t matter if you knew about evolution or not it worked anyway. On everyone. There was a certain kind of beauty, a prettiness that everyone could see. Big eyes and full lips like kids, smooth, clear skin; symmetrical features; and a thousand other little clues.

Somewhere in the backs of their minds, people were always looking for these markers. No one could help seeing them, no matter how they were brought up. A million years of evolution had made it part of the human brain. The big eyes and lips said: I m young and vulnerable, I can t hurt you, and you want to protect me. And the rest said: I m healthy, I won t make you sick. And no matter how you felt about a pretty, there was a part of you that thought: If we had kids, they d be healthy too. I want this pretty person&It was biology, they said at school.

Like your heart beating, you couldn t help believing all these things, not when you saw a face like this. A pretty face. (16-17) By revealing the perception that the Uglies had of the Pretties, Scott Westerfeld showed how the Uglies and Pretties are programmed to think not only of themselves a certain way, but to think of others a certain way as well. The Uglies are taught to see themselves as Ugly and inferior to a Pretty. On the other hand, Pretties are made to see themselves as Pretty, and to see Uglies as the disgusting things below them.

There is always a part of a person that longs to be perfect and pretty and someone else s eyes, at first Westerfeld allows the reader to sympathize with the Uglies and share the same desires of wanting to be a Pretty; but then when all the extra insight is added the readers sees something is wrong. No one should be conditioned and influenced by society to judge who should be considered ugly and who deserves to be pretty and no one should be superior and inferior to a person; because of appearance.

This is like the separation between the rich and poor , how the rich are seen to be of a higher quality than the poor despite what might be within the person. Like heart and character . Although, Tally s world might be different from the reader s, there is judgment and segregation in both worlds. This is another way that the reader might be able to learn and grow from the book the Uglies, by seeing from the Uglies point of view the reader can better understand how a person who does not meet higher quality standards and does not fit in the in crowd sees him or herself.

An Alternative Perspective

Tally is very tricky and full of tricks, her abilities to sneak around the authorities is how she made it across the river to see Peris. Although, she crashed a new Pretty party in the process, she was able to pull off a major trick for an Ugly. When she s Peris, Westerfeld shows how much Tally s old Ugly had been changed by the operation, because of the operation Peris could no longer accept Tally for Tally. No Ugly had ever dared to cross the river and fully enter into New Pretty Town, and somehow Tally had managed to do this for Peris, but he only saw her trick as her being stupid. He lacked the ratefulness that a true best friend would have.

Just promise me you won t do anymore stupid tricks, Peris said. Like coming here. Something that will get you into trouble. I want to see you Pretty. (19) Scott Westerfeld starts off the book with this event to show how smart Tally is despite her ignorance for the operation, and her promise to Peris is what keeps her blinded from the truths of the operation. Tally doesn t even start to see the operation as being something other than a gift for Uglies, until a girl she meets while trying to escape New Pretty Town offers her an alternative.

The girl s name is Shay. Shay is just as tricky as Tally, but completely different from Tally. Shay is actually the character most favored by the reader, because she is already aware of the dangers of the operation. Shay is a rebel that does more than just question the order of the world she lives, she tests it. In addition to teaching Tally how to hoverboard(a floating surfboard like invention that can fly in the air at high speeds), Shay teaches Tally how to go beyond the cities limits.

With Shay s character, Scott Westerfeld shows the reader that there is a way out, an alternative perspective on the operation. There is a game in Uglyville that allows Uglies to morph there features into Pretties. One day Tally was playing this game, and wanted Shay to participate. Shay response was, Making ourselves feel ugly is not fun&. The whole game is designed to make us hate ourselves. (44) With that statement the reader becomes fully aware that Shay has some background knowledge about the operation that she s holding back. But it s a trick Tally.

You ve only seen pretty faces your whole life. Your parents, your teachers, and everyone else over the age of sixteen. But you weren t born expecting that kind of beauty in everyone, all the time. You just got programmed into thinking that anything else is ugly. The Change of Mind: Tally was able to learn a lot from Shay: how to hoverboard, make it past the city limits, and even about a David that helps Uglies hide in the wild from the operation in a place called, The Smoke. Although, Tally learns of these new things, one person cannot change the way Tally thinks about the things that she s taught.

To her David was just one of Shay s fantasies, but Shay had become her closest friend since Peris left to go to New Pretty Town. Shay s friends had also been older, and had left to go either to New Pretty Town or The Smoke. Tally and Shay also shared the same birthday, and were scheduled to have the operation on the same day. With their opposite point of views, they move in opposite directions. Shay leaves for The Smoke, first trying to convince Tally to go with her, but when Tally refuses to go Shay leaves her with a map to get there just in case Tally changes her mind.

Tally doesn t change her mind, she is forced to. On the day Tally is supposed to get the operation, she meets the cruel looking Pretties, called the Special Circumstances. The Special Circumstances stands in the way of anyone that tries to defy authority, like Shay and the others had done by going to The Smoke. Special Circumstances, tells Tally that unless she finds Shay and The Smoke, Tally would be ugly for life. All Tally ever wanted was to be Pretty, and this is what drives her to betray her friend and The Smoke.

Special Circumstances supplies her with all the stuff she needs to make the long trip to The Smoke plus a signal device that will bring the Special Circumstances to The Smoke. After being out in the wild Tally discovers David is real, and not only that, but that David was raised in the wild. His parents had been doctors when the first operation had took place, and saw that the operation leaves lesions in the brain. The lesions are what cause the dramatic change in the Pretties. After discovering this information, and after being told her was pretty by David, Tally finds love and a new home in the wild.

The only problem is David is like Shay s boyfriend, the one that influenced Shay to think differently, but David likes Tally more than Shay. So, determine not to set off the signal device and betray Shay anymore than what she had already done, Tally throws the signal device into a fire. The signal device goes off when it s destroyed, so Tally accidentally sets off the signal device anyway. Betraying everyone in The Smoke, Tally leads Special Circumstances to The Smoke. The Smoke is destroyed along with Tally s friendship with Shay, but Tally s mind has been changed.


Scott Westerfeld s Uglies, opened a door to a world of romance, mysteries, drama, and education; creating a magical allusion for the reader. In high school, a teenager often faces the realities of: life vs. death; ugly vs. pretty; and love vs. rejection. Tally faces these same realities when she is forced into enter a door of betrayal. Scott Westerfeld s purpose for creating the book Uglies is to question the order of the world surrounding human life, by creating a futuristic world he was able to highlight the problems that are seen in the reader s world.

Problems like judgment and segregation are just a few of the problems that the reader s world and Tally s world share. Tally s world might be different, but when it comes to the problems she faces there is a lot that is the same. The reader can grow from both the similarities and differences. With all the similarities and differences Westerfeld sends the message, Humans, despite color, shape, and size; are more alike than we are different. With more than one aspect o grow from; Uglies is not only the perfect book to learn from, but the perfect book to be on the fiction reading list!

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