Samantha’s Letter Essay #7-Uglies

April 1st, 2016

Dear Classmates,

I have recently finished the book Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. It is 406 pages and is a dystopian fiction novel. Scott Westerfeld is 52 years old and wrote Uglies in 2005. He writes young adult fiction including the Uglies Quartet and Afterworlds. Uglies is part of a New York Times Bestselling series. It is a book that I personally do not recommend although many would… I however did not strike interest in it. I chose to read this book because it was an option I had picked for my first round of book clubs in class but I didn’t get assigned this book until the second round. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t have Divergent to compare it to. A friend of mine encouraged me to write it down for round 2 because she had enjoyed it so much.

The quote on the cover of the book is one that intrigues readers and intrigued me to read the book. “A world where everyone’s ugly. And then they’re not.” It gets potential readers to think about your story, enough to want to read it. I rarely see such a short summary on the cover and another full summary on the back. I think having only the short summary on the front makes a reader wonder even more. It made me wonder, Why were they ever ugly? How do they become pretty? Is the whole revolved around beauty? What type of citizens does this community have? The simple quote on the front was enough to make me open the book. But once I closed it after reading it, I don’t plan on reading it’s sequel. However, it may be a good idea to read the story again to gather more information in the beginning and then I may reconsider my decision. I may not have liked it because of my confusion or because I was focused on completing it by a certain date.


Tally is finally sixteen which means it’s time to fulfill her dreams of becoming pretty. Every sixteen year old transfers from Uglyville to Pretty town by receiving an operation that makes them beautiful. She misses her old friend Peris who has already turned… she is thrilled to have found a new friend, Shay. Shay would be turning over to Pretty Town the exact day Tally would, and Tally couldn’t wait. Or at least at first she couldn’t, she later found out that Shay knew that being Pretty is not all they should have to offer for themselves. Shay knew none of it mattered so 2 weeks before their birthday Shay left directions for Tally to get to the Smoke. But when Tally decides to ignore Shay’s note and turn pretty anyways she is stuck with a big decision to make. Turn pretty after betraying her new best friend or stay ugly her whole life for the Smoke’s sake, and Shay’s.


I was angry when Shay turned Pretty and forgot about everything she cared about and stood for. I wish Westerfeld had chosen David’s dad to be put into her position because Shay would have been better at helping the Smoke become the Smoke again and David’s dad was killed so he is better off being pretty and tested on. This would have been better because then the ending would have been Shay and Tally playing their final ugly trick together rather than Tally and the new Shay.

I wish that Tally hadn’t volunteered to be tested on as a pretty, or that the author had told us what happened after she was tested. This made the ending ambiguous even though we know what she did we do not know what happened when she showed up at Special circumstances or is she was captured back to the Smoke to be tested on. I didn’t like having to assume it worked or know that maybe they didn’t let her turn pretty.

The character development of Tally was not focused enough on how she felt about what she had to do. All I could pick up from Tally was that she didn’t enjoy being ugly and she wasn’t very good at making decisions. If those were her only qualities I wish they would be better conveyed throughout the story instead of the beginning.

I was convinced to keep reading by this passage, it takes place in David’s parents’ living room. David has brought her there because he has a feeling that his parents should talk to her. Tally is about to find out the truth about being pretty.

“ ‘Maybe it’s not so complicated. Maybe the reason war and all that other stuff went away is that there are no more controversies, no disagreements, no people demanding change. Just masses of smiling pretties and a few people left to run things.’ Tally remembered crossing the river to New Pretty Town watching them have their endless fun. She and Peris used to boast they’d never end up so idiotic, so shallow. But when she’d seen him… ‘Becoming pretty doesn’t change the way you look,’ she said. ‘No,’ David said. ‘It changes the way you think.’” (page 254.)

This passage convinced me to keep reading because it had answered my questions of why it is so important for people to turn pretty when they are 16. It also explained it in a way for readers to want to know how this will affect Tally’s decision and how she will change from knowing what she always dreamed of doing was a lie.

I would rate this book a 6 out of 10.


Samantha Romaniello

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1 thought on “Samantha’s Letter Essay #7-Uglies

  1. Dear Samantha,
    Your letter essay was really well written and had a lot of good details. I think next time you should explain why you rated the book a 6 out of 10!

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