Books Completed: 30
Completion Date: February, 2009
Publication Date: February 8, 2005
Reason for Reading: Sci-Fi Experience, New Author Challenge
Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that?I am so happy that I finally got to read Scott Westerfeld. I have heard of him, of course! I am not even sure where I saw reviews of his books, but he has been on my to read list for quite some time. It is really time that I started reading more science-fiction, and I figured that he would be a safe bet. I was right! I think I am going to love this series. I have already requested the second book from the library, but I think I will probably end up buying them. (I think I am due for a post to show just how bad I am at not finishing series/trilogies.)
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth 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 to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world -- and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.
One of the things that I love about science-fiction is the technology. That's probably one of the reasons that I am such a big fan of Star Trek. I always want to have what they have. In this book, one of the technologies that really interested me was a hoverboard. It is sort of like a skate board, only you are flying through the air. I have a fascination with flying, so technology that would allow us to do that really interests me! I probably would be really bad at it, but that is besides the point! They also have hover cars. This is a society that has taken over after the destruction of the previous one. There are hints about what happened, but the book does not come right out and say why it occurred. All we know is for sure is that this society thinks that it has learned from the mistakes of the previous one. Whether that is true or not, that is for you to decide. They are of mixed opinions, which is part of the main theme behind this book.
What would happen if you could make yourself super-model beautiful when you turned sixteen? Would you do it? You would go from being an 'ugly' to a 'pretty'. In our society, many people have body image issues and would love to be able to 'fix' all their problems. If there wasn't a problem, plastic surgery would not be the big industry that it is. In Westerfeld's book, though, teens of sixteen are expected to become beautiful. They spend the first part of their life envying those that have already been transformed and waiting for their turn. It is in essence a society of image, with little attention placed on pursuits of the mind. There are still 'smart' people, but it is not what people aspire to. It is not so much different than how people think in our society, really. I know many women that are really smart and pretend not to be because women are not supposed to be intelligent. They are supposed to be beautiful. Being made beautiful in this book, though, applies to both the women and the men.
The main character in this book, Tally, though, is about to discover just how 'imperfect' her society is. She makes a new friend waiting for her turn to be pretty, and her perfect order is turned upside down. When Shay runs away because she isn't sure she wants to be made pretty, Tally is caught up in it and has some big decisions to make. Being model beautiful may seem like a great idea, but it is not all that it is cracked up to be. Westerfeld really captures the insecurities of teenagers and makes a world that would seem like the perfect solution to many, but looks can be deceiving!
I look forward to reading the next book in the series!