Sounds like quite the relevant title for this review don’t you think? I first heard of this series back in high school when the first novel was one of the books I could choose to read in English class, so I went with it and remembered reading it and liking the concept.
Now, here I am having read it again and ready to write about it.
This is a futuristic universe, set three hundred years later where the government has everyone organized and labeled based on their appearance. You grow up to become an “ugly” but when you turn sixteen, you get an operation, plastic surgery that makes you a “pretty” and then you start a life where the only thing you need to do is have fun. There are other operations that come later, but I’m not going to cover all of it.
The protagonist, Tally Youngblood can’t wait to become pretty and the story begins with her sneaking to the city where the new pretties live so she can see her best friend, who turned pretty before her. Tally has this mindset that she wants to be pretty because she wants to go to all those parties and have everyone look at her in admiration. But her new friend Shay doesn’t like the idea of turning pretty and the first third of the book takes place with them either having fun hoverboarding, or arguing about the operation.
Shay was planning all along to run away to a place called the Smoke before turning sixteen and I only realized now that when she took Tally to the Rusty Ruins for the first time, in reality she was trying to signal her friend David to take them to the Smoke. It wasn’t just some sightseeing
I wish I could have a hoverboard of my own! I already knew that Tally would have no choice but to bring Shay back if she wanted to turn pretty, her journey to the Smoke was fun to read and once she gets there, she learns the truth about the operation. It not only changes the way you look, but also the way you think; like what happened to Shay towards the end, and Tally is tested where her loyalty lies.
So is there really a way to cure what the operation does to people’s brains? I guess I will find out in the second book given what Tally decided to do.
This series to me so far is like The Hunger Games nobody knew about, with emphasis on how far we have gone in society’s view of what is beautiful. I was talking to a friend the other day and showed him a picture of models from Victoria’s Secret and Dove, the ladies from the latter show that beauty can appear in all shapes and sizes, not one particular image that VS and other companies portray: tall, thin, or with hair straight out of a Pantene commercial.
If I was living in Tally’s world, maybe I wouldn’t take the operation either, perhaps I will run away to the Smoke!
Other than that, great story so far, interesting and relatable concept.
Onto to the next one.