Getting Older Kids, with Difficulties, to Read
Third Carnival of Children's Literature

Pretties: Scott Westerfeld

On my business trip last week, I found time to read Pretties, the second book in Scott Westerfeld's Uglies, Pretties, Specials trilogy. I reviewed Uglies last week (here), and enjoyed it quite a bit. I have to admit that I didn't care for Pretties quite so much. This is often the case for me with the second book of a trilogy (I didn't like Eldest (Inheritance, Book 2) nearly as much as I liked Eragon, either, though I liked Inkspell better than I liked Inkheart).

Pretties picks up a month or so after Uglies leaves off (stop reading here if you haven't read Uglies yet), with Tally living in New Prettytown, after having had the operation that makes her Pretty. She has only limited, patchy memories of her time living in the Smoke with David and the others. She hangs around with her new clique, the Crims, drinking and partying and anguishing over what to wear.

Fortunately, a couple of incidents occur to spark Tally's memory, and make her realize that her brain, and her memories, have been tampered with. She hooks up with Zane, the leader of the Crims, and together they embark on a quest to make themselves "bubbly" (meaning able to think), and to escape the city. Tally's partnership with Zane, however, is a threat to her friendship with her old friend Shay, and causes problems. It becomes clear fairly quickly that Tally's relationship with Zane will also cause problems between she and David if they meet up again.

I think that the reason that I didn't care for this book so much was that I didn't like Pretty Tally, with her surgically implanted shallowness. And although I liked Zane, I was always pulling for Tally to find her way back to David.

I still found the book compelling, however. I read it in a single day (a plane ride helped), and I look forward to the May release of Specials. I want to see if Tally ever gets her pre-operation personality back. I want to see if she succumbs to the Specials, or defeats them. I want to see if Shay is redeemable. So, Pretties did accomplish what a second trilogy book needs to accomplish - it set things up for me to want to read the third book. If you liked Uglies, you should definitely read Pretties.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.