Author: Scott Westerfield
Primary Audience/age group: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
# Of pages:384
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Year of Release: 2005
Part of a Series? Yes, 2 of 4
Rating: 2 (View Scale)
Recommend? Yes with ReservationsRead reviews of book 1, Uglies, and book 3, Specials
Description: From Book Cover: Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she’s completely popular. It’s everything she’s ever wanted.
But beneath all the fun — the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom — is a nagging sense that something’s wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally’s ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what’s wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.
Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life — because the authorities don’t intend to let anyone with this information survive.
Review: Tallys story continues. Now that shes become pretty, things dont seem quite as important to her anymore. Will she be able to overcome what has been forced on her? This sequel is as quick-paced and attention-grabbing as the first as you grow more with the character of Tally Youngblood. Again, the book has some very positive and timely messages for older teens and young adults but with a few more reservations.
Rating: 2 for violence and underage drinking
Positive: The characters come to realize that being pretty-minded isnt that gratifying. In fact, being so caught up in your own beauty and others as well as living the party lifestyle is quite empty and limits your choices in life. Other positive themes in the book include the value of friendship, loyalty and not leaving friends behind as well as fighting for the greater good and that its ok to be yourself.
Spiritual Elements: A group of hunters find Tally in the woods and believe she is a god because thats what theyve been led to believe by the authorities in Tallys city. She goes along with it for awhile, but eventually tells the hunters the truth.
Violence: One disturbing scene in the book is when a group of pretties, those who have undergone the operation to become pretty, cut their arms with knives in order to make themselves think more clearly. *Please read the recommendation below.*
The tribe of hunters that Tally come in contact with are considered savages who are at war with a group called the Outsiders. Each group has killed members of the opposite party. We are given a glimpse into the mind of the holy man in the tribe who is set on avenging his fathers death by killing an Outsider although this does not happen. It is made very clear that murder of any kind is wrong.
Language: There are several instances of the word h*** and a couple instances of the expression p***ed off.
Sexual Content: Two of the main characters are in a relationship, and they kiss on several occasions. Tally remembers a conversation she had with another friend who advised her not to have sex with the first pretty she likes. She does consider having sex with her boyfriend, but it is not made clear as to whether she does or not. I was quite shocked when Tally wakes up in her boyfriends bedroom, and he isnt wearing a shirt. The scene really seemed out of place to me, and it is made clear that she spends the night there every night. There is no mention of kissing or sex or any sexual detail related to this scene, but you are left to make your own conclusions.
Another male character goes to alert Tally of danger and finds she is naked, taking a bath. But, there is nothing sexual about the scene.
Other: Tally and her friends are living in New Pretty Town where partying every night with alcohol is the norm. However, they come to realize that drinking keeps them from being able to make their own decisions. Alcohol is part of the setting of New Pretty Town. It is used to keep the New Pretties from remembering their pasts, when they had choices, and from going against the authorities. There are more mentions of alcohol in this book than in books 1 or 3.
Recommendation: Book 2 by far has the most reservations for me, and I had to drop the rating to a 2 and increase the recommendation age to at least 15 because of the topics covered. My two biggest issues were the number of times alcohol use was mentioned and Tally spending the night with her boyfriend. I did feel that alcohol use was part of building the scenes, and the book did have a redeeming quality of the two main characters seeing the negative side of allowing alcohol to rule their lives.
Tallys relationship with her boyfriend is a bigger part of the plot this time, but I felt it was overshadowed by the bigger picture finding a way to free themselves from anothers views that have been forced upon them. If you do allow your teen to read the series, I would encourage you to discuss making good Christian choices in regards to underage drinking and appropriate behavior with the opposite sex. Succumbing to alcohol can have a devastating effect on young lives for years to come. Also, allowing oneself to get into tempting situations with the opposite sex can also make it harder to say no to sex before marriage. God calls us to live holy lives and be set apart from the standards of this world.
Romans 12: 1-2 NIV states, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Godthis is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will ishis good, pleasing and perfect will.
Another reservation I had was teens cutting themselves in the book. This real psychological problem has been highlighted in the media recently although I do believe that the act in the book has some differences than the real disorder. However, this still may be a concern for some parents who are dealing with the issue in their teenager. There is only one scene in the book where the cutting occurs, but it happens more often and in greater detail in the third book, Specials.