In Tally's world, your 16th birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellant Ugly into a stunningly attractive Pretty, and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is having a really good time. Just before her birthday, Tally discovered that turning Pretty comes with a terrible price. She vowed to accept the operation, but with the understanding that her friends on the outside would rescue her, and let her be the guinea pig for the experimental and highly dangerous cure they're developing.
But in the second book of the Uglies series, Tally's Pretty. And everything's changed. The new, Pretty Tally is totally happy right where she is. She doesn't think she needs any kind of cure at all. When someone from her Ugly life shows up with a message, Tally has a hard time listening. Did she really promise to give all this up? Is she bound by a promise she made when she was a different person? If there is anything left of the old Tally, how will she fight her way out to keep her word and help her friends?
I read the Uglies quartet back in middle school and absolutely adored them. I must have reread them at least twice, but I hadn't done so again in a while. I was at a library yesterday and saw Westerfeld and picked up Pretties to kill time. As is the case with all fast paced books, I had almost finished it by the time I left. This remains one of the strongest dystopian series I've read, and I daresay I've read a few.
The premise behind this world is that all kids have a surgery on their sixteenth birthday that beautifies them, and also obviously does something else--otherwise the new pretties wouldn't be running around with no cares in the world but partying and having fun.
One of the strongest aspects of Westerfeld's writing comes in his world making. Tally is one of the "new-pretties" and as such lives in New Pretty town and will until she's a middle pretty. There, the utmost care is taken with safety for the various completely dangerous activities that residents can partake in. Tally's clique, the Crims, engages in a stunt that melts a floating ice rink and sends them all crashing to the ground, but as they were all wearing bungee jackets, they were safe.
The plot is fast paced and action packed. As soon as we're finished hearing about the antics in New Pretty Town, Westerfeld throws us into drama and exciting events, and from there on, there's no stopping.
There's enough romance to satisfy me without distracting from the plot or making it a star, which is a refreshing balance.
For anyone into dystopias, this series is a must read. Just make sure you have all four books at your hands when you do so!