Monday, December 7, 2009

"Pretties" by Scott Westerfeld

Summary: In the sequel to Uglies, Tally is back in New Pretty Town, having volunteered to be turned into a pretty so that the anti-pretty mind drugs developed in the Smoke can be tested on her.  Tally remembers little of her time in the Smoke and is otherwise a typical "pretty" until Croy, a boy from the Smoke, shows up with the pills.  Taking the pills with another pretty, Zane, Tally finds herself remembering more of her normal self and taking more risks to stay "bubbly"--not pretty-minded.  Tally and Zane are being watched, however, and must find a way to escape and return to the Smoke.

Musings:  It's been about a month and a half since I read Uglies, so it seemed like the right time to delve into the second of the series.  The book begins with Tally as a pretty, which can be both frustrating and illuminating.  Her change from flighty pretty to serious-minded Tally is enjoyable, even if I could have lived without hearing the world "bubbly" so often.

The romance with David of the first book is replaced with the romance with Zane, a fellow pretty.  The boys are virtually interchangeable, but they do represent a different stage in Tally's life.  When all three are finally brought together at the end I expected the beginning of the ever-popular YA love triangle, but the story moved away from that much more quickly than I had expected.  At first I was surprised at how easily Tally could choose, but her choice made sense.  In the real world, people grow and move on from relationships; a passionate romance one month may mean much less the second.  Only in fiction is the love of one moment the love of a lifetime. 

Like in the first book, Westerfeld begins to raise questions about the nature of humanity and our effect on our environment.  All societies presented in the book--New Pretty Town, the Smoke, and the "savages"--have both positive and negative traits.  Not one represents an ideal society, and it's unclear which, if any, is best.  I'm hoping this idea will be explored further in the next books.

After reading the What is the What (which was excellent, but lengthy and requiring some effort), Pretties was the perfect book.  It was quick, fast-paced, and fun to read.

- See my reviews of book one in the series, Uglies, and book three in the series, Specials 


  1. Pretties was slightly less enjoyable for me than Uglies, but I think I didn't give it much of a chance to succeed because I read them all one after another. The book I really liked after Uglies was Extras - possibly because I allowed some time between the reads. Nice review, and I'll be looking forward to your thoughts on the rest!

  2. You know, I was thinking I liked "Pretties" better than "Uglies," but I think it's mostly because I had such a long break between it and "Uglies" and had just finished a more weighty book. I started "Specials" right away, which might have been a mistake... I'm not liking it too much so far!