Wednesday, December 30, 2015


by Scott Westerfeld
published: Simon Pulse, 2005
pages: 425

Tally Youngblood wants to be pretty and when she turns sixteen she will get to do just that.  She'll have the operation and move to paradise, where everyone will be beautiful.  However, her new friend Shay has no interest in becoming pretty. She wants to run away and stay ugly forever.  But Shay doesn't want to do it alone though, she wants Tally to come with her.  Tally has to make a life altering decision, either way there will be major consequences.

This book didn't immediately captivate me like I hoped it would.  I liked the concept of the book and thought it was interesting but the plot didn't seem to take off until the book was well over half way through.  I knew I wanted to finish the book, but I was on the fence about whether or not I wanted to continue on the series.  It wasn't until the last 50 pages or so that I decided I wanted to know what was going to happen in the next couple of books.

This is the kind of book that I would have loved if I had read it in high school.  The characters are compelling and Tally deals with pressure from multiple sides, which most teenagers deal with at some point.  She is relatable and interesting; I found myself routing for her at every opportunity.  Shay on the other-hand is just as compelling, but more impulsive.  She doesn't always think about the consequences of her actions, but is fiercely loyal.

I do like the writing in this story.  Scott Westerfeld has a unique way of getting to the heart of the characters and their conflicts with vibrant dialogue and descriptions of the dystopian world in which they live.  I'll be interested in reading more of Westerfeld's work.

Stars: 3/5


"With a beginning and ending that pack hefty punches, this introduction to a dystopic future promises an exciting series."
     --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Highly readable with a convincing plot that incorporates futuristic technologies and disturbing commentary on our current public policies.  Fortunately, the cliff-hanger ending promises a sequel."
     --School Library Journal, starred review

"This book, the first in a trilogy, asks engaging questions about the meaning of beauty, individuality, and betrayal.  Highly recommended for SF fans or anyone who likes a good, thoughtful adventure."
    --Kliatt, starred review

A Full House Reading Challenge 2015 Book!
A TBR Pile Challenge 2015 book.
An Alphabet Soup Challenge 2015 book. 


  1. The longer I read this book, the less I liked it. I felt like the author was trying to make some kind of social statement, or something, rather than just writing a kind of science fiction dystopian.

  2. It's funny how sometimes you read a book and you know the younger you would have enjoyed it, but current you isn't all that impressed haha! I'm curious about this one myself, but I'm in no big rush to check it out. I think I'll start with something else by Westerfeld - like Afterworlds - and see how I do with his style first.