Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thankful for...The UGLIES "trilogy", by Scott Westerfeld

... and A CONTEST!!

I have a daughter who, like her mother, is a Reader. She falls into books like some people fall into a three-layer chocolate cake. She devours them almost as fast as I do. Like me though, she doesn't keep them in her head for long. She reads so much that it takes something... SPECIAL... to stay in her mind for more than a week or so. In this series of books by YA author Scott Westerfeld, my oldest daughter has found something that has kept her coming back for more for years. Hey, I've got Jenny. She's got Scott.

When the newest book, EXTRAS, hit stores, we were there to pick it up. And, as I love having my books signed, I checked Mr. Westerfeld's blog to see when he would be near us, so she could get hers signed as well. The closest he was going to be to us was KENTUCKY. Can you believe that? (Well, he actually made several appearances in NY as well, but we couldn't wait that long.) So, we headed off to Lexington in search of a signing. What we experienced was nothing short of a blast! Five hundred and two miles after our journey began, we entered Joseph Beth Booksellers, and stepped into the world of Westerfeld. I've asked Gret to dish on the books and why she likes them. Read on to see what she has to say about UGLIES, PRETTIES, SPECIALS, and EXTRAS. And check out the end of this dish for a CONTEST!!

So I started reading this series because... I don't know why. I guess it was just out of pure curiosity. I think I saw an ad for it somewhere and thought, "Hey! That sounds cool!" so I started reading.

When I read the first sentence of the first book...

The early summer sky was the colour of cat vomit.

I was like "EW! Cat vomit? That's a vivid view I didn't need." I thought it was interesting, to say the least. It took a while for me to get into the first book and see the big picture though.

We all think about the future, right? Tomorrow, next year, 10 years from now? Well, has anyone ever looked 300 years into the future? That's what Mr. Scott Westerfeld, author of the UGLIES book, did. He went into the world of hovercars, crash bracelets, Rusties, SpagBol, and Pretty-Operations.

At the start of UGLIES, 15 year old Tally Youngblood can't wait til she turns the big ol' 16 (I mean, who can? I can't!), so she can get her birthday present. As you know, most 16 year-olds get a car or something like that. But in Tally's world, you get 'the operation'. This operation turns you from being ugly (like you and me) into Pretty. Very rarely does anyone die, but there is the occasional accident.

Tally has wanted to get this done since she was a littlie. She can't wait to be whisked away on her birthday, taken to the place they do the transformation, and to be Pretty for once in her life, without her too big nose, spread apart eyes, and gaping pores.

On the day of the operation, some man comes to get her after several long hours in the waiting room. He takes her to this place, this building she's never seen before (right in her own town), and she meets these people. People with terrifying faces, yet they are excruciatingly beautiful. When they talk, it's as if there are razors coming out with their words. They are Special Circumstances.

From UGLIES to SPECIALS, they are trying to stop Tally from exposing them for what they really are - Monsters.

In EXTRAS, the story turns to Aya Fuse, an ordinary 15 year old 'ugly' Japanese girl who is just trying to make a name, and a face, for herself. When she finally finds a story to kick to make her famous, she realizes that maybe she should re-think who her friends are, Radical Honesty is bad, and maybe, just maybe, she is destroying the world she's trying to fit into. As the story progresses, there are familiar people like Tally, Shay, David, and others. But hey, you can't expect me to tell you everything. So if you wanna find out more - Read The Books!

All I can say is they were GREAT! Never a boring chapter (for me, at least!).

Bravo, Scott. Bravo!!

And Bravo to you too, Gret. Thanks for dishing this series for us.

This is a week long contest. You can COMMENT on THIS post, or you can BLOG THE BOOKS on your own, for extra points. All you have to do is:
- BLOG about this series on your own blog, with a linkback to this post (10 points).
- BLOG about your personal feelings about the way the world views pretty and ugly, with a linkback to THIS post (7 points).
- COMMENT on THIS post about your feelings about how the world views pretty and ugly (2 points).

Keep Turning Those Pages!!


Chari-Dee said...

Great Dish Gret! Your mom told me about these books, and I think I need to read them, they sound FAB!

Thanks for stopping in over here!

Love Ya

Sue A. said...

I've never before heard of this series. I'm intrigued! Also by the fact the author is a man. And what girl can't identify with Tally.

Anonymous said...


chanel said...

i have my own blog!!

McB said...

Great post, Gret! Now I have a question. I have two nephews, one 14 and one 10. Do you think these are books that would appeal to boys, too? They both like to read, although the 10yo is more into classics while his brother enjoys some paranormal stuff.

danetteb said...

I've been thinking about reading this series, thanks for reccomending them.

I blogged about them too @

Dev said...

I've heard a lot of good things about this series. My kiddo is 15 ~ she hasn't read them yet, but some of her friends have. She's actually been hinting about them for Christmas this year.

Dev said...

I posted it on my blog also:

tetewa said...

Sounds like a great series!

dee said...

McB- Your nephews would enjoy the books! Gret says the books might be a little deep for the 10yo. There is some kissing and hand-holding, no sex, very light swearing (damn and hell, possibly 3 times in the entire series), some mild violence (explosions, guns, nothing gory). Great sci-fi series for any teenager, YA, or even those not-so-Y adults. :)

sue a. - It's a wonderful series. And Scott is an amazing speaker, as well as a terrific writer. I really can't say enough good things about him, or the books!

dev - Your daughter will LOVE these books. I don't know any teen that's read them that doesn't love them.

danetteb - thanks for blogging them! It's a great series!

chanel - thanks for blogging this series and contest. Good luck!

tetewa - are you from the Westerblog? Good luck with the contest!

jenna said...

Series is certainly unique and special. am interested in this author.

RachaelfromNJ said...

Hi! I posted on my blog about the books. I've had them on my wishlist for a while and I've heard so many great reviews on them. I'd love to win them. You can find my post here :

RachaelfromNJ said...

I'd also like to do #3 for two more points about commenting on how the world views pretty and ugly.

I think society has reached an all time low with their obsession with beauty. Celebrities are scrutinized from their wrinkles to their cellulite to how skinny or fat they are. When Britney Spears performed for a show on TV, she wore an outfit that she thought she looked good in being that she's only about 130 pounds. After a bad performance, we all heard about how ''fat'' she looked, not about how she lip synched or how she looked drugged out. It was all about how disgusting and fat she was. I don't know what world we are living in when 130 pounds is fat. Children are developing eating disorders at a very young age because of the pressure to look good. I think Scott Westerfeld's books are a genious idea and I hope they help society realize how crazy and ludacrious they are for thinking plastic surgery and eating disorders are the answer to everything. I've never read Scott's books yet but I know what they're about. The idea of everyone needing plastic surgery after a certain age as a kid to fit in is interesting and just plays on how crazy our world is. I look foward to reading these books and I hope people can look past pretty and ugly and see what's inside because that is what counts.

RachaelfromNJ said...

I also posted that on my blog with a link back here. So I actually ended up doing all 3 things instead of just one. :) I commented on how the world views pretty vs ugly here

readingissomuchfun said...

Hello Dee & Dee,

I posted about this series on my blog. This sounds like a very good series I would love to read.


Laura K said...

Wow! I would love this set for my classroom.

readingissomuchfun said...

Hello Dee,

I was wondering when will the winner be posted? I can't wait to see who the lucky winner is :-)


angelaandconnor at said...

I would really love to read this series.. It sounds like just the thing to keep me occupied over christmas break!

I blogged ya too :)

Kimberly B. said...

First off, let me say that I really enjoyed this series! Westerfeld has a great way with the unexpected, and although I think this premise has been done elsewhere, his take on it is original and definitely cool.
One of the issues I personally have always had with the concept of beauty is whether it's better to have the attitude that looks don't matter,or "everyone is beautiful (in their own way)." Should we disregard beauty completely, or create a broader definition of it? I seem to be more inclined towards the latter, since I don't think we ever can get away from noticing how people look.

blackroze37 said...

pplease enter me in the contest and pick me

blackroze37 said...

yes i think the world treats ppl differnt , ive been there on both sides.
i won several beauty contest as teen up to 18, but i still hjad my looks, though personally i never really thought i was that cute much less pretty, then couple yrs ago,, 3, kids,a nd manyyy health issues, my weight exploded, and now im fat,and sick alot, so fdother bother with makeup, and it seems like ppl are actaully afraid to get close, or they might "catch" being fat

blackroze37 said...

ok im trying to figure out my blog, so maybe but doubtful i get it figured out LOL

Gypsy said...

Please enter me

windycindy said...

Hi, I was reminded of something when I read how she gets "pretty" at 16. It amazes me how many young girls, in high school or for their graduation gift receive cosmetic surgeries. Sad commentary on our society. Thanks,Cindi

Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings said...

blogged ya: