On the Uglies series

Challenging the Gods

By Rosemary Clement-Moore

I should have known the Prettiverse wouldn’t be pretty.

Any book that starts out by comparing the sky to cat vomit is probably not going to be full of unicorns and rainbows. Not unless the unicorns are surgically engineered special police and the rainbows are really the artificial light reflecting off the metaphorical fog of your nanotech-induced complacency.

Strange as it seems, I mean it as a compliment when I say that the Uglies series scared and depressed me. This type of book, which eggheads and English teachers call “dystopian fiction,” makes you think about what’s wrong with the world. It’s built on things that are messed up in our society right now, and shows very clearly where we could be headed if things don’t change. That can be a real downer.

Fortunately, the Prettiverse has two things: hoverboards (which are, let’s face it, just plain cool), and Tally Youngblood, who uses her hoverboard to elevate pranking to an art form. So at the same time I was lamenting over how easily our present world could become her apocalyptic past, I was eagerly turning pages, anxious to see what would happen next.

Even before she knows she’s going to bring the mind-rain that changes the Prettiverse forever, Tally is a rebel. So are Shay, David, Maddie, and all the Cutters and the Smokies. So was Zane. Tally, though, is the trickiest and most rebellious of them all, her lawless brain continually resetting the boundaries imposed on her by both society and science. And if  …

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