Published: February 8, 2005
Goodreads Blurb: 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.
This is a unique take in a dystopian novel. Most people wouldn’t have an issue about being turned pretty. Some things are worth staying ugly for…
The characters were easy to relate to. Shay is carefree and doesn’t think about the ramifications of her actions. She’s indecisive, and fun. David is sweet but can be a jerk, not that I blame him. I would have acted like one too. He acts like he carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. Teenagers shouldn’t be that stressed. Tally was a refreshing main character. It’s nice to see female characters that aren’t over-confident. Some of her actions are also completely selfish. I know those aren’t great traits, but there’s only so many times you can read about a character that’s self-sacrificing from the very beginning. It can get monotonous. So it’s nice to see a character with weaknesses we all deal with on a mostly daily basis.
The story line was slow paced. I didn’t mind this because Westerfeld did a great job with the world building. I could picture the rusty ruins easily. Most of the focus is on how Tally deals with the decisions she’s made and her growth as a person.
This wasn’t the best dystopian I’ve read, but it kept my attention and I’ll be reading the sequel, Pretties.