All the Things

A blog by Holly Papa.

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

by | Feb 22, 2009 | Blog | 3 comments

The sequel to Uglies, also a NYT bestseller. I had a harder time getting into this book because of the way Pretties talk. I had no idea that a surgery could change the way that people talk so easily. I felt like I was in some cliquey Disney Channel movie or something. Then, I started to get the feel of it and started enjoying myself.


In the Pretties, Tally has received her greatest wish to be beautiful and fit in. Unfortunately, there are still crowds to please- most particularly the Crims who stay cool in Pretty Town by tricking and acting like juvenile delinquents who’ve had their devious sides toned down. Tally doesn’t remember much about the Smoke or her feelings about Uglies. She’s just caught up in the desire to be accepted.


When Tally is about to be voted in by the Crims, she notices she’s being followed by someone dressed as a Special. Her adrenaline kicks in and suddenly she sees clearly that life is different on the brain wave level here on the Pretty side of the river. And she’s not sure she wants to stay so mellow. She wants to be bubbly. I had a hard time with the term bubbly because to me it meant air-headed, but in the book it means clear-headed. Took me awhile to get that one straight.


I really liked this second book of the series even though I obviously am a little obtuse when it comes to ‘cool’ talk. Tally would so think I belonged in Crumblyville with all the middlies if I lived in this book. Luckily, I can shave off a few years in my imagination and ride along as a sidekick pretty easily!


The dieter in me loved the calorie purger packs that you could just down if you’d over-eaten to stay thin. Magic weight-loss control in a little bitty packet. Too bad it reeked of eating-disorders. I’ll bet there have been readers who have struggled with this disorder who have so wished for some of that, and been a little ticked that it didn’t exist. The author indicated that hunger pangs could keep you bubbly and seemed to think that was a sufficient reason to misuse the calorie purgers. I disagree and am not sure I appreciate this aspect of the book. It answers a lot of questions though about how the Pretties can be so irresponsible with their bodies and yet still conform to the Pretty standard. On the other hand, it is just another example of irresponsibility. Apparently the responsibility- ability comes with the next operation- you know the one that turns you into a grown-up.


So, writing this review, it just hit me that this might not be a good book or series for that matter for people struggling with eating disorders. It just becomes too easy to think about being beautiful and staying thin. Talk about temptation for anyone struggling with this difficult problem.


I am looking forward to reading the next book. As I told a friend- this isn’t like the typical second book in a series where you can’t wait to get to the third one because the second one is driving you crazy with how contrived it feels. 1st and 3rd are usually the best. This series, surprisingly breaks the mold. I can’t wait to read the next one- Specials!


  1. Kelly, the Optimistic Bookfool

    These books are on my daughter’s shelf, but she’s so wrapped up in the Twilight series, I don’t know when she’ll read them. I don’t read much YA, but I’ve been thinking about picking them up for a quick read. Thanks for the great review!

  2. Kailana

    I had a harder time getting into this book than Uglies, too! I love what you said at the beginning, though, about the way they talk. That was something that was flashing around in my mind that I couldn’t put into words. 🙂 I actually plan to post my review of this book today, too. It was supposed to be yesterday but I watched the Oscars instead.

  3. hollybookscoops

    Kelly- I think these are worth it, you should definitely pick them up! If anything it will give you a different perspective on the future of our world.

    Kailana- I hope you enjoyed the oscars. I didn’t get a chance to watch. From the interactions I’ve had with other readers, Pretties takes some getting used to- there’s a language barrier you have to figure out first. I think it is an excellent second book for the series and the language really plays a part in that, once you get used to it.


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