Monday, April 8, 2013

Pretties, by Scott Westerfeld

In Tally's world, your 16th 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 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?

     "Pretties" is the second book of the Uglies series. It starts a month after Tally Youngblood had become a Pretty - in her world/ time in the future, everyone who is older than 16 is submitted to a surgery given by the government to become perfect. Not just your face, but your bones and body are changed. After finding out that they also make changes in people's brains - altering the way they think, and their past memories blurry, Tally committed herself to become a pretty and test a new kind of pills developed by the Smokies (people who live outside of the city and are against the system), which intention is to fix the lesions in the brain caused by the surgery. 
     As a Pretty, Tally lives in New Pretty Town, having fun, drinking and going to parties every day. This world of fun ends when her past calls her back to reality: she is given a letter in which she wrote to herself back in the days she had her conscience in the right place. Her decisions after that change everything.
     As Scott Westerfeld call as being "bubbly" - to be clear in your thoughts and able to understand what is going on, Tally struggles with herself throughout the book to keep her mind "bubbly" so she could think right and escape from the city which is controlled by the Special Circumstances (Almost inhuman people who were designed by another kind of surgery to keep everything in control and the city safe from Outsiders). Escaping the city meant finding the Smokies and helping them to give the pills to everybody so they could be cured from the brain lesions and be free. Brain-free.
     On her way to the Smokies, she finds an area called the reservation which is a project, a study made by the Specials that observes tribal people and how the human nature acts with one another. They were the proof that human beings left alone destroy each other and the planet, just like the mankind did 300 years before in the story. Man used the resources without a limit and destroyed the environment, almost killing the whole humanity. 
     The study is a proof that human beings are evil inside of themselves and are capable to self-destruction, hurting and killing each other and the planet. This is the reason why this system was created - to prevent humanity to extinguish itself forever.
     Westerfeld mixes teenager romances and friendship with this well-narrated futuristic dystopy. The story is less adventure than the first book, "Uglies", involves more serious conflicts, and is less innocent, what makes me think that it should be indicated to young adults, not for teenagers. But still, a good story. Scott Westerfeld knows how to grab the reader with such intensity that can create addicted page-turners. 

Quotes: " Left alone, human beings are a plague. They multiply relentlessly, consuming every resource, destroying everything they touch. Without the operation, human beings always become Rusties."

" Their reasons don't mean anything unless I have a choice. And they don't give anyone a choice."

" This was their world out here - this raw, cruel wilderness with its disease and violence and animal struggle for survival. Like this people, this world was ugly. To be pretty was to be from somewhere beyond. Out here, Tally was a god."

" Everyone in the world was programmed by the place they were born, hemmed in by their beliefs, but you had to at least try to grow your own brain."

Depression after-reading: 100%
Final Rating:94%

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