By Alexandra K ’13 and Naimh N ’13
“She could see New Pretty Town through her open window. The party towers were already lit up, and snakes of burning torches marked flickering pathways through the pleasure gardens. A few hot-air balloons pulled at their tethers against the darkening pink sky, their passengers shooting safety fireworks at other balloons and passing parasailers.” All Tally Youngblood wanted was to be pretty and party in New Pretty Town with every other 16-year-old. Tally’s world is not like anyone else’s. It’s a few centuries after our time, and things have changed. When people turn 16, they get an operation that turns them from ugly to pretty.
When Tally meets a new girl, Shay, while sneaking out of Uglyville, they instantly become friends. Shay and Tally realize they have a lot in common, like the same birthday, which means the same operation date. Although Tally is very excited to turn pretty, she notices Shay is not as enthusiastic. When Tally’s turn to become pretty finally comes, something goes wrong. She is taken away and told that her best friend, Shay, has run away. She is then forced to make a decision that will change everything. She can go after her friend and bring her back, or Tally will have to spend the rest of her life an ugly.
Tally makes her decision to go after Shay, and when she does, she comes across more than she imagined. She discovers a whole city of people who have run away because they disagreed with the operation. They call their city The Smoke. But these people are hiding something, something that they want the rest of the world to know; a secret about the operation and how it changes you. Tally soon becomes close to everyone in the Smoke, especially David. David had lived in the Smoke all his life, and was particularly close to Shay. Tally eventually makes another decision that will affect the lives of her and everyone else around her.
This book is guaranteed to be a good read. It is thrilling, full of action, and very suspenseful. The author of the book, Scott Westerfeld, uses a style of writing that will leave you holding on to that book until you finish. He uses a cliffhanger at the end of almost every chapter to keep you moving on to the next. “The next morning she awoke to chaos, the sounds of running, shouting, and the scream of machines invading her dreams. Out the bunkhouse window, the sky was full of hovercars. Special Circumstances had arrived.” This is one example of how this book will keep you clinging on to it until the end. When you’re done, don’t worry! There are three awesome sequels that continue this amazing story.