Dystopian, Fiction, Young Adult

Review: Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

Pretties book cover
Image from The Bookish Type

Title: Pretties (Uglies #2)

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Genre: Dystopian

WARNING: This book is second in a series, so this review will probably contain spoilers of the previous book. If you haven’t read Uglies, I recommend not reading this review.

Tally is finally pretty. Her looks are perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is hot, and she’s super popular. But beneath all the fun – nonstop parties, high-tech luxury, total freedom – is the nagging sense that something is wrong. Then a message arrives from Tally’s ugly past, and she remembers what’s wrong with pretty life. Now she has to choose between fighting to forget and fighting for her life – because the authorities don’t intend to let anyone with this information survive.

After enjoying Uglies so much, I had planned on reading Pretties much sooner than this. But apparently someone else wanted it, too, because it only recently came back to the library. As soon as I found it, though, I snatched it right up.

Since I read Uglies so long ago, I don’t really remember enough to compare the two, but I loved Tally in Pretties. When she was a pretty-minded airhead, I didn’t mind following along to explore the high-tech luxury of New Pretty Town. But once she snapped out of it, she was fantastic. Brave and loyal and refusing to give up, even when it got really, really hard. Plus, I love it when characters have an interesting past, and Tally’s adventures in Uglies made her a minor celebrity.

Zane wasn’t even mentioned on the back cover. He was a pretty who discovered on his own that something was wrong and managed to half-fix it himself. And once he and Tally became friends, I loved their friendship. He was mysterious to most people, but he could be really sweet and supportive, and also reckless – which made him really fun. If he was a real person, I would love to have him for a friend.

I hated Shay. It must have been the pretty surgery, because I don’t remember anything like this from ugly Shay. She was an airhead pretty in the beginning, but then she became aloof and mean and I’m not sure she was quite right in the head. I alternately hoped Tally would get through to her or she would get shot in the head.

Plot, plot…I feel like I’m going to give everything away. There’s basically two parts to the story. The first is in New Pretty Town, and the second is once they leave. In New Pretty Town, it was almost like a spy story – trying to stay “bubbly” (the pretty word for high emotion that can override the brain lesions) without letting on to anyone that they knew. Plus secretly enlisting their social circle to do “bubbly-making” stunts and help other pretties overcome their lesions. Then once they escaped, it was part survival and part finding out more the Powers That Be are doing (and not get caught).

And oh my gosh, that ending! I think I said the same thing about the last book, but dang. Scott Westerfeld doesn’t have to worry, I’m hooked! (Even if the covers are bogus.) I remember why I wanted to continue this series. Hopefully I won’t have to wait as long to find the next book, Specials.

The Uglies series:

  1. Uglies
  2. Pretties
  3. Specials
  4. Extras
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