I’ve really admired Scott Westerfeld‘s work since I discovered the first Midnighters book as a bookseller my last semester of grad school in Boston. I’ve been hearing great things about Uglies, but just never had the time to read it. Finally requested it from the library a few weeks ago, which forced me to make the time for it.
Finally finished it this morning.
Good thing I’d gotten Pretties a week later! I couldn’t wait to keep going and find out what happened to Tally. And it answers a question raised at a conference I went to earlier this year, in which a couple of writers lamented that no one is publishing SF for teens anymore. Not so. Granted, in the last few years it’s been heavily weighted toward social science fiction–The Giver, for example–but Uglies does what few space-oriented SF books I’ve read do: make me care about the characters. At the same time, Westerfeld also explores sci
entific ideas without divorcing them from their ethical repercussions. All in all, I think Westerfeld has done what few hard SF authors do, at least the ones I’ve read–using both plot and characterization to emphasize the Idea, rather than emphasizing just the Idea or allowing the logic of the Idea to slip in service to plot and character.
Go read it. If you’re writing SF, use it as an example. Just be sure to have Pretties ready to go when you’re done. And remember that Specials is out now, too. (I’m hoping the long waiting list for the library copy goes fast, or I might have to break down and buy it!)