Books don't have to be new to be deserving of a review! On Fridays I flashback to some of my favorite books of all-time.
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Tally Youngblood is Ugly. Everyone in her society is considered ugly until they turn 16 and have surgery to make them Pretty. In addition to being beautiful, pretties live a life of full of parties and absent of responsibility. While Tally eagerly awaits the day of her transformation, her friend Shay has become convinced that there is a darker side to becoming Pretty, and runs away. On the day of her operation, Tally is given an ultimatum: find Shay and bring her back for surgery or remain Ugly forever. Tally heads out into the unknown on a search for her friend and the truth. What she learns may change her life forever.
This was my first science fiction novel. I put off reading it. Science fiction was for out-of-shape men in their 30s who still lived with their parents. It was space and aliens and time travel. Then I put aside all of my misgivings and just read the darn book. Did you know that science fiction can be cool? It sounds silly now, with books like Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games as national best sellers and science fiction the "it" genre, but it didn't always used to be that way. Scott Westerfeld's Uglies opened up a whole new world of reading to me. And even in the day and age of row upon row of dystopias, this is still my go to. The first pages of the book draw you into the world; even naming the place where newly operated teens live "New Pretty Town" doesn't seem a silly choice. You're riveted by the action and gripped by the building suspense. The naive and adventurous spirit of the characters and the connections that can be drawn between the materialistic values of their society and ours make for a story with which teens can identify.
Practically every student in my middle school has read all four books. I trained the first generation of readers to act aghast if another student indicates that he or she hasn't yet read the books and to demand that the problem be rectified IMMEDIATELY. It's kind of awesome to watch my 6th graders (particularly the ones who have done Hunger Games Camp with me over the summer and have heard my Hunger Games read-alikes book talks) providing reader's advisory to their friends. It makes my day.
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