Pretties is the second in the Uglies trilogy. In this book, Tally has finally become pretty, and is struggling to fit into the pretty world. She has everything she wants, but can’t shake the feeling that something’s not right. That feeling is confirmed when a visitor from her past arrives and helps jar her memory awake. With the help of her new boyfriend, Zane, Tally attempts to cure herself and her friends of their pretty-brains without letting the authorities know what they’re up to. The authorities don’t want people to stop being pretty-brained, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep their world in order.
Once again, I’ll just say the book is fantastic. It is every bit as good as Uglies, and I’ve already moved on to the third book in the trilogy. In the first book, the order and harmony of the supposedly-Utopian society is contrasted with the wildness and unpredictability of a “normal” city in order to show how not-right the engineered society is. In this book, when Tally ends up back in the wild, this time among primitive human beings, she learns more about the violent and destructive tendencies of people, and begins to understand why her society was engineered in the first place. The correct path becomes less clear – is it worth keeping people vapid and empty-headed in order to prevent violence and destruction? The message is not so simple anymore. It certainly makes Tally – and the reader – think.
I don’t want to say too much and give away spoilers. The book is fast, brilliantly written, and convincing. Westerfeld immersed the reader in the world of the uglies and then into the primitive camp of the runaways in Uglies, and now does the same with the world of the pretties. In the next book, I’ll get to learn about the lives and culture of the specials. Each of these territories is unique and has different cultural rules, linguistic dialects, and so on, and each is equally well-done. The trilogy is well worth the read.
Revisited in 2010: Loved just as much, but did not write any further review. This book is my favorite of the series.