Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
PrettiesWould you rather be pretty or have your own thoughts? The Pretties don’t have a choice.
Tally Youngblood lives in New Pretty Town with her friends the Crims. She has only lived here a few months and is anxious to accepted in the Crim clique. She was tricky in her Ugly days, often breaking the rules and sneaking out of her dorm at night. Before she became Pretty she helped find the renegades in the wild, the Smoke, and brought her friend Shay back to New Pretty Town. Now they are best friends.
Yet something is odd here. Tally receives a visit from an old friend from outside of the city. He leaves a cryptic message, challenging her to do…remember…something. But Tally doesn’t want to remember. She likes being Pretty. Yet the challenge stays in her mind. With the help of her new boyfriend, Zane, Tally finally starts the discover what the challenge is. Eventually she learns she is the one who has to help Zane and their other friends. Can she do it?
Scott Westerfeld wrote a trilogy about his imagined future, starting with Uglies. Pretties is self contained, but leaves the reader hanging, just as Uglies did. Yet Pretties gives enough history that a reader starting here may be all right.
Westerfeld has a fully realized setting in his future. The residents of Earth have mostly died off. The survivors are carefully controlled to prevent overpopulation or natural resource depletion or wars or fights. They have discovered how to control population growth and the ability to share resources fairly between all the inhabitants on the planet. This setting and situation is quite realistic feeling – including the difference between “pretty” mind and “bubbly” mind.
Pretties is written for the tween age group. It keeps the reader’s attention and rooting for Tally. She also appeals because she is a character who bucks authority for fun and for good cause. Enjoy Pretties – even more so if you’ve read Uglies first. I’ve already put Specials on reserve from the library.