Uglies: Shay's Story
by Scott Westerfeld and Devin Grayson
Cover Artist: Steven Cummings
Review by Gayle Surrette
Del Rey Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345527226
Date: 06 March 2012 List Price $10.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Shay lives in Uglyville. In just a few more months, she'll be made pretty and can move across the river. Having not read the previous novels, I have only this graphic version to go on. It seems that the young people race and get into semi-dangerous sports because their equipment has governors on them to make sure they can't do anything really dangerous. Scars don't matter because, they know they're ugly and all scars and disfigurements are erased when they become pretty after they turn sixteen.
Everything in Uglyville - from the mean nicknames to the view of new Prettytown - is just meant to make us hate ourselves.Shay doesn't play safe. She's disabled the governors on her board and she's even taken it across the river to spy on pretties. Just from that one trip, readers get the idea that pretties may be beautiful but maybe that's all they are. Told from Shay's diary entries and from her point of view, we see the world she lives in and it's not a pretty one -- at least not until you turn sixteen and get the Surge.
After a prank, Shay joins a group of similar danger seekers called the Crims. They've heard of some ruins in the wilds -- outside of the area where they are allowed to go. However, breaking rules is what they pride themselves on so they head to the ruins where they are met with the chance of some other choices for their future.
Each chapter or section has a cover page which shows a map of the area and who is being observed. This page indicates that something more is going on beyond Shay's Story.
The art work is beautifully done and adds to the characterization of these young people. It furthers the story with background information and hints of things not being told to us directly -- such as the chapter page map info.
There's much more that goes on: choices made and choices taken away. There's plenty to think about and to ponder in Uglies: Shay's Story.