Guest Post of Sobibor by Jean Molla @ Once Upon a Bookcase!

Hello everyone,

Since I am busy being a movie star nowadays, I won't be updating my blog a lot - I know, I can hear the "ooooh noo!" from here (yes, yes, I can)

But fear not faithful reader!

You can go check out a guest post (what am I saying, the one and only first guest post I have written) I wrote for the wonderful Jo @ Once Upon a Bookcase here! I am really excited because this is the first guest post I have written (and because I get excited regularly for no reason)!
It is part of the Body Image and Self Perception Month (of which you should know all about by now, otherwise I am highly shocked!) and on a book called Sobibor, written by French YA (though not exclusively) writer Jean Molla about a young anorexic girl and some events which occured during the Second World War in the extermination camp of Sobibor in Poland.

Have a lovely end of week people!

x Caroline

Extras - Scott Westerfeld | Scott Westerfeld Week | BISP Month

Monday 19/07: Uglies
Wednesday 21/07: Pretties
Friday 23/07: Specials
Sunday 25/07: Extras


Title: Extras

(Book 4 of Uglies series)

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Category: YA
Release Date: 2007
Source: Library
Paperback : 417 pages

Summary from Goodreads:

It's a few years after rebel Tally Youngblood took down the uglies/pretties/specials regime. Without those strict roles and rules, the world is in a complete cultural renaissance. "Tech-heads" flaunt their latest gadgets, "kickers" spread gossip and trends, and "surge monkeys" are hooked on extreme plastic surgery. And it's all monitored on a bazillion different cameras. The world is like a gigantic game of American Idol. Whoever is getting the most buzz gets the most votes. Popularity rules. 
As if being fifteen doesn't suck enough, Aya Fuse's rank of 451,369 is so low, she's a total nobody. An extra. But that's just until she gets to kick a good story for herself. 
Then Aya meets a clique of girls who pull crazy tricks, yet are deeply secretive of it. Aya wants desperately to kick their story, to show everyone how intensely cool the Sly Girls are. But doing so would propel her out of extra-land and into the world of fame, celebrity...and extreme danger. A world she's not prepared for.


This book is set three years after the end of Specials, in another part of the world. I cannot review it without giving spoilers for Uglies, Pretties and Specials, BUT unlike the other books, this one can actually be read as a stand-alone novel if you don't wish to read the three others.
Though you are highly recommended to read all of them!

I have to admit to a major book crush here. 
*has little hearts coming out of her ears just thinking about it*

The story is set in Japan three years after the "mind-rain", where Tally succeeds in beating the whole bubble-head system (end of Specials). The book revolves around different characters and a different culture. You can see the cultural differences between the future (them) and the present (us!) as well as between American cultures (Tally and co.) and Japan culture (Aya and co.) in the future societies. That sounds a tiny bit complicated lol. Aya's society is filled with references to manga (which is super fun!): the beauty standards are very different from the ones in Tally's city.

Aya is a young insecure Ugly who has issues finding her place in this fame/reputation-based system of society. People are ranked according to their fame and what they do. They each have a "feed" on which everyone can tune in. This is how their society works, so when Aya finds this group of extreme girls seeking thrills and wanting to disappear from the system, it makes her whole vision of the world change. Why on earth would people search to be invisible?

I feel that this book presents everything that is wrong with the media and the new forms of communication today. It is incredible that this story is supposed to happen in a far future and it feels so true when you look at it from a contemporary perspective: this race towards fame, towards scoops which aren't, this fear of invisibility and irrelevance in the world, sound familiar?
When you look at what type of persons are the most famous in the book and you look at who is famous in real life today, you choke on your chinese noodles. I just ate chinese noodles. 
People can tell you the first name of one if not all of the Kardashian sister, but can they tell you who is the United Nations' Secretary General? It is Ban Ki-Moon, he is Korean (South Korea since North Korea is an evil Rogue State) and he hasn't done much to save the world "yet" (hopefully) in case you contemplated googling him. I don't need to write the names of the sisters though, do I?
My point exactly.  And I don't need to google their names either btw :D
I'm picking the Kardashians because they're particularly famous for doing nothing, but you just have to watch TV/Internet and take your pick.

I like the difference between Tally and Aya and their perspective on being famous and acting to be famous or just wanting to do something. I guess one feels always attracted to what they don't/can't have. It was fascinating to read about their differences. All the characters in this book were fascinating, from Aya, to the Sly Girls, to Aya's brother Hiro and his friend Ren.
Aya is constantly followed by a camera (called Moggle - I have a major crush on that hovercam), and she always acts with the idea in her head of a) being filmed for something awesome she does b) putting the images on her feed c) become famous and recognised by people. How boring and shallow, yet, how very natural to want to feel alive? Because, are you really alive if no one knows about your existence?
Oh dear, am I overthinking things again?

I loved how Tally looks so much more like an adult character, far from her own self in the three previous book. I found that it was such a brilliant way to conclude the Uglies' trilogy because no matter how important a revolution is, the crucial part is always reconstruction. It is easier to destroy something than build something else anew. The conclusion of this shows how scarred the world population is by what happened in the past which I won't talk about not to spoil the end!

I LOVE the character of Frizz. He has had a brain surge to make him unable to lie or even conceal the truth. He is entirely unable to deceive anyone. On one part, the clashes with other people because of his radical honesty create some hilarious moments in the book. On another part, it makes you wonder about your own life full of little white lies or even complete fabrications. Can one live by being entirely truthful and not end up alone? It offers quite a perspective on life. I found that Scott Westerfeld created this brilliant character to make us reflect on our own lives even more. Which I find awesome to be honest, life wouldn't be as much fun without some questioning!

Here the self perception is seen through the perception of others, in the sense that your perception of your own self isn't yours, it is decided by external criterias that you can't manage. How very 21st century of Scott Westerfeld to put that in a Japanese perspective to show us our flaws. I love this guy :)

I like the note that Humanity (the Rusties) didn't only create bad things. 

This is a book that I won't forget. I loved all the books in the series, but this one in particular has a little something that is utterly irresistible. It is the type of books you love to read for the action and the plot, but also because it offers such a big reflection on society and human behaviour. And that's just how I like my books. 

This is the end of my Scott Westerfeld Week, part of the Body Image and Self Perception Month hosted by Jo @ Once Upon a Bookcase, I hope you enjoyed it and want to read plenty Scott Westerfeld books now!!

Specials - Scott Westerfeld | Scott Westerfeld Week | BISP Month

Monday 19/07: Uglies
Wednesday 21/07: Pretties
Friday 23/07: Specials
Sunday 25/07: Extras


Title: Specials
(Book 3 of Uglies series)

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Category: YA
Release Date: 2006
Source: Library
Paperback : 372 pages

Summary from Amazon:
"Special Circumstances" - These words have sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a rebellious Ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumour - frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally's never been ordinary...Now she's been turned into one of them: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the Uglies down and the Pretties stupid. The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember...most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more. Still, it's easy to tune that out - until Tally's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: carry out the mission she's programmed to complete, or listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat telling her that something's wrong... Either way, Tally's world will never be the same.


Specials is the gripping conclusion of the Uglies' series. Yes, there is a fourth book, Extras, but it is set after what goes on in Uglies, Pretties and Specials. Again, I cannot review Specials without writing spoilers about both Uglies and Pretties, so if you haven't read these books, head to my review of the first book (here) or second book (here).

By now you must have understood that the titles of the books are linked to Tally (and also Shay)'s condition: in the first book she is Ugly, in the second Pretty and in the third Special.

This new book finds Tally transformed in a Special and wanting to take revenge on the Smoke and the Smokies for what they did to Zane. She appears extremely different (physically as mentally) from what she was in the previous books. Her life takes a complete different turn when she is not, for once, hunted by Dr Cable. She is working - willingly - for her.

I have to admit that I was a bit shocked at the whole"Cutters" thing which started at the end of Pretties. Because Tally didn't give her the pill to cure the lesions induced after turning Pretty, Shay has resorted to cutting herself to reach a state of awareness and has created a clique - the Cutters - where people cut themselves to stay bubbly. They become Specials after Dr Cable notices what they do. Tally is obliged to become one of them at the end of Pretties. So in a big part of Specials, the characters justify cutting themselves by wanting to be stronger and have a clearer head. That is hardly a message I would send to Young Adult readers - hence my shock. 
But as most things in Scott Westerfeld's books, this is part of the story for a reason. And I found that the reader would - for once - not follow Tally in this new life. I was highly horrified by her attitude, her determination in cutting herself as well as her lack of feelings. It felt as if the example of Tally, Shay and the Cutters, was just a way to show what a bad example they were.

After reading this book, I felt the same as I did about Frodo Baggins when I finished reading the Lord of the Rings. These poor characters just want to have a normal life, and that cruel writer behind his desk is making them go through all these events, scarring them for life.
 *Poor sweethearts!* 
I felt so bad for Tally during the entire book. After her transformation from Pretty to Special, the reader realises that something is not right in Tally's head. Specials are supposed to be bubbly and not airheads like Pretties. But Tally is bubbly to the point of being "icy". All the Specials are icy, this is the new slang for cool or bubbly in Pretty vocabulary. Though she thinks no one has messed up with her brain, the reader realises that someone did, because she has all the wrong reactions. 

I was heartbroken by the evolution of Tally's relation with Zane. Unlike Tally, Zane has stayed pretty and brain-damaged. She is plagued by his weakness and his infirmity, she cannot even stand to look at him though she knows that deep down she loves him (she knows this, yet she doesn't feel any of it). 

There is also a change in Shay and Tally's friendship. They become friends again, after the little episode at the end of Pretties but it is a forced friendship from their position as Cutters.

I liked how violence and education are related in the sense that when you educate people, they don't feel the need to be violent (expressing their opinions with non-violent tools). But also in the sense that you can educate people to violence. It is quite a thrilling issue, especially when Tally comes across a colony of "wild men" in Pretties

All in all, I have fallen in love with Scott Westerfeld's storytelling and ideas. And especially with this series. It is beautiful with amazing stories between characters, plenty of action and above all, some very profound ideas coming through. I am a fan and I believe a lot of people would fall for Tally and her adventures!

Pretties - Scott Westerfeld | Scott Westerfeld Week | BISP Month

Monday 19/07: Uglies
Wednesday 21/07: Pretties
Friday 23/07: Specials
Sunday 25/07: Extras


Title: Pretties
(Book 2 of Uglies series)

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Category: YA
Release Date: 2006
Source: Library
Paperback : 370 pages

Summary from Amazon:
Tally has finally become 'pretty'. Her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are cool, her boyfriend is totally gorgeous, and she's completely popular. It's everything she's ever wanted. But beneath all the fun - the non-stop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom - is a nagging feeling that something is very wrong. Something important. And sure enough, when a message from Tally's 'ugly' past arrives, the fun stops cold. Now Tally has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life...


I can't review Pretties without giving away major spoilers for Uglies, so if you haven't read the first book, you can read my review here and go buy the book or take it from the library :)
I am reviewing this book as part of the Body Image and Self Perception Month hosted by Jo @ Once Upon a Bookcase, check out her blog for more info!

Pretties is the second book from the Uglies' series by Scott Westerfeld and let me tell you that it rocked my socks! I absolutely love this series and I find that Scott Westerfeld's story-telling is brilliant. If you liked Uglies, you're going to love Pretties!
The world he created - supposed to be our future in 300 years - is awesome. It is divided in small entities mostly isolated one from the other. These entities live in complete autarky, only the people in the highest spheres of power can come and go out of the zone as they please. Before 16 years old, all human beings live as "Uglies" in a certain part of their city, and at 16, when they do the surgical operation that will transform them in "Pretties", they go live in another part of the city reserved for the Pretties. Pretties do grow up and might even get a job and grow old, but that's hardly the point of the book!

From what we learned in Uglies (major spoiler, dude, don't read if you haven't read the first book), becoming Pretty isn't only a physical change, the evil doctors behind the operation also induce lesions in the brain in order to make people docile as well as Pretty by making them focus on their own pleasure and physical attributes and not think too much about the rest.
Tally is at first a real Pretty, she is concerned about what she wears and how she is perceived by others. But she has some moments of lucidity and it all becomes clear how just utterly boring and useless the Pretties are.

I liked that the characters are different when they go from Ugly to Pretty and that it is difficult to pass from one state of stupidity to another of awareness. Alongside attitudes, it is an entire language that comes with being Pretty. Things are bubbly (exciting or aware) or bogus (bad or boring). The world has only two dimensions: Pretty/Bubbly/Interesting/Worthy or Ugly/Bogus/Boring/Worthless. It is very interesting seeing the intelligent Tally from the first book evolve in this two-dimensional being. The brain-washing looks very real and you just want to put your hands in the book, grab Tally and shake her to make her realise what she has become!

At the end of Uglies, Tally leaves David without them having an explanation over that little betrayal thing she did which ended up killing David's dad. Oops. So when Tally recovers her intelligence and memories, there is a big question-mark on David. Will he forgive her? Will he not? Is he still Ugly alive? In the meantime, Pretty Tally becomes closer to another guy, Zane, who is as Pretty and bubbly (meaning aware) as her. Love triangle much?
I found that Tally's love life (if not life in general) is quite complicated. Poor thing. Everything she does ends up ruining her chances each time a bit more. I honestly hope some good will come out of all of it because, girl, that's some serious bad luck!

Tally and Shay's friendship evolves through the books. They follow the same route, but have very different attitudes towards other people and situations. I like to see how their friendship changes depending on their 'condition' (Ugly, Pretty...). I find both their personalities fascinating.

Like Tally, I don't like my life when I am not myself and everything is too easy peasy lemon squeezy. Don't you like some challenge or difficulty in your life? Don't you feel a bit suspicious when things are easy, as in way too easy to be true?
After a while, Tally realises that being a Pretty and an airhead is a bit... bogus! So she wants to think for herself and do what she wants without being constantly watched. I like this idea that when people have everything they need (and more), they stop getting involved in how decisions are made about their future. And this is *drum rolls* one of the biggest dangers in today's rich democracies. Argh, I knew it, I lost everyone on that one. As in, when people have the impression they are free, they don't take initiatives to check if they actually are. When Tally wakes up from her Pretty daze, she realises that no matter what comes magically out of the wall whenever she asks for something, she is not entirely free. Not free to do what she wants and not free to think what she wants. 
Anyways, I felt it was an interesting issue to ponder, even in today's world where, luckily, we don't all look like Barbie and Ken :)
Or I am - like always - over thinking the whole thing!

I am much in love with this series, and I would love everyone to discover it. The book is very intense and the characters awesome. Scott Westerfeld has amazing story-telling skills and you get hooked on the story from the beginning. 

Dystopia is becoming each book a bit more my favourite genre. 
Hello Mockingjay ;)

Random House Children's Books Event 17.07.10

Hey there everyone!

Last Saturday, my fellow bloggers and myself have been invited by Random House Children's Books for a brunch and a talk about upcoming books. This was the first time I went inside a publisher company before (and let me tell you it's awesome!).

Aside from seeing again my blogging buddies:
Becky @ The Bookette
and Carly @ Writing From The Tub
I also met Lauren @ I Was a Teenage Book Geek and Liz and Kaz @ My Favourite Books (Kaz Mahoney is also a writer, check out her website).

Upcoming books
I can tell you people that the upcoming books this year are AWESOME. I am extremely excited for most of them! There will be the new Malorie Blackman book called Boys Don't Cry about a teenage boy taking care of a baby. We even had the chance to see the different covers they had created. It looks great, especially seeing this story from the point of view of a teenage boy!
There will be a new Terry Pratchett book, I Shall Wear Midnight, out in September and which seems very touching (and fun as always), can't wait to read it!
The book Trash (I got an ARC!!) is one of the books I anticipate the most for this year. It looks very different and awesome, you can read below what it is about!
I also can't wait for the new Jonathan Stroud book (and all the others) and a book called Long Lankin as well as the Michael Scott series on Nicholas Flamel!

There are some secret books which were talked about but I can't tell anything... But BE EXCITED!

Translated books at Random House
I also had the occasion to talk a bit about translated books to Lauren and I will be asking some question to the team taking care of this at Random House and posting them as part of my Lost in Translation meme! We'll be able to understand the process they go through to acquire rights to some books and translate them. I can also submit some French and Italian books that I liked for them to check out, which is YAY!

The last part was surreal, it was basically like one of those horror films where a bunch of people are locked in a room together. Here, nothing too horrific, they put a bunch of book addicts book bloggers in a room packed with books with the only indication of "take all you can carry" *jaw dropping* I Know. Wow.

So I brought back a *few* books. 
And that's just because I can't carry weight on my shoulders =D

Mo-Bot High (Bk 1) - Neill Cameron
The Spider moon (Bk 1) - Kate Brown
These are two graphic novels I took because I looove graphic novels and these ones looked different and fun (I obviously love the colours!)

Noughts and Crosses (Bk 1) - Malorie Blackman
To Kill a Mockingbird (50th Anniversary edition) - Harper Lee
Before I Die - Jenny Downham
Ithaka - Adèle Geras
So I have never read a Malorie Blackman book, and I was told it isn't acceptable :)
I have read To Kill a Mockingbird several times, but this is one of my favourite books and I am a sucker for cute covers (don't you just love this cover? I'm thinking about getting a poster!!).
Before I Die is an incredibly beautiful story (I had tears in my eyes just reading the blurb on the cover) and I need to read it :)
I am still waiting for my (signed!) copy of Dido I won from Becky @ The Bookette but I am already a fan of Adèle Geras books from the many reviews I have read, hence Ithaka which I snatched as soon as I saw it. The others had no chance. ;)

Bloodlust and Initiation (Vampire Beach Novels) - Alex Duval
Tender Morsels - Marco Lanagan
The Runaway Troll (Bk 2) - Matt Haig
Heroes of the Valley - Jonathan Stroud
The Alex Duval book was offered to us in the goody bag and it is the story of Vampires on the beach, which looks like the perfect summer read :)
I loved the cover of Tender Morsels, and when I picked it up, I saw it was a retelling of the Grimms' Snow White and Rose Red. And that was enough to make me VERY EXCITED to read it!!
I need to get the first book Shadow Hill, but I'm sure The Runaway Troll will be such a laugh!!!
[Erratum: I definitely need to change my glasses since the first book of Matt Haig is Shadow Forest and not Shadow Hill, sorry about that! And thanks for letting me know my mistake ;)]
It would appear I also need to read Jonathan Stroud, so I am :)

Noah Barleywater Runs Away (ARC) - John Boyne
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - John Boyne
The Ring of Solomon (Prequel to the Bartimaeus Trilogy) (ARC) - Jonathan Stroud
Trash (ARC) - Andy Mulligan
I wanted to read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas forever and I got to get a copy of it, as well as an ARC of John Boyne's new book Noah Barleywater Runs Away which looks fantastic!
Jonathan Stroud again, because I must :)
Trash is one of the books that Random House will publish this year, and let me tell you that I am extremely excited about that one. It looks like such a different story that we usually read in YA: it takes place in a slum and the main character Raphael has to go through rubbish to survive. Some children face hunger, violence and poverty on a daily basis, and they don't even feel sorry for themselves. From what I have heard, it is fantastically written, and I absolutely can't wait to read it. 

The Necromancer (Bk 4) - Michael Scott
Corinne presented Michael Scott latest publication in the Nicolas Flamel series. She spoke very warmly about this amazing book, and totally convinced me! I will be reviewing Michael Scott previous books in the series in August because I like reading books in the order (and I love series!), so stay tuned!

I am *soooo* excited at all the amazing books I got to bring home and the upcoming books coming out during the year! Wow! 

Thank you so much to the lovely Clare, Corinne, Lauren, Kelly and Rosi who took the time to come on a Saturday and organised this event for us, you girls rock!!

For other posts about this event, check out (they even put pictures!):

Uglies - Scott Westerfeld | Scott Westerfeld Week | BISP Month

Monday 19/07: Uglies
Wednesday 21/07: Pretties
Friday 23/07: Specials
Sunday 25/07: Extras


Title: Uglies 
(Book 1 of Uglies series)

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Category: YA
Release Date: 2005
Source: Bought in Waterstones!
Paperback : 425 pages

Summary from Amazon:
Tally lives in a world where your sixteenth birthday brings aesthetic perfection: an operation which erases all your flaws, transforming you from an 'Ugly' into a 'Pretty'. She is on the eve of this important event, and cannot wait for her life to change. As well as guaranteeing supermodel looks, life as a Pretty seems to revolve around having a good time. But then she meets Shay, who is also fifteen - but with a very different outlook on life. Shay isn't sure she wants to be Pretty and plans to escape to a community in the forest - the Rusty Ruins - where Uglies go to escape ' turning'. Tally won't be persuaded to join her, as this would involve sacrificing everything she's ever wanted for a lot of uncertainty. When she is taken in for questioning on her birthday, however, Tally gets sent to the Ruins anyway - against her will. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she could ever imagine: find her friend Shay and turn her in, or never turn Pretty at all. What she discovers in the Ruins reveals that there is nothing 'pretty' about the transformations...And the choice Tally makes will change her world forever.


I was most entirely blown away by this book, and I have already started Pretties, the sequel in the Uglies' series. What an incredible story!

The story takes place a few hundred years after our civilisation. Us humans of the 2000 are called "Rusties" and are criticised for our inability to live together by accepting our differences and our ruthlessness in destroying our planet (that is not the part of Scott Westerfeld's brain that deals with imagination which came up with this, in case you wondered). The new civilisation is basically divided between Uglies and Pretties (there are other types of people, though). All human beings are born Uglies. 
After a phase as Littlies living with their parents, the Uglies live in dorms together until their 16th birthday where they undergo a surgical operation to become Pretties. I hope I didn't lose anyone here. All Pretties are very similar and they fool around in New Pretty Town by going to parties, playing tricks and getting drunk. I know it sounds familiar but it isn't set in LA and the characters aren't brainless fashionistas.

This being said, we have our badass heroine Tally Youngblood, who is a few months away from being a Pretty and - finally - start her life. Her best friend Peris has been transformed and she can't wait to join him. Being a Pretty is the most important thing in Tally's world. When she meets Shay, she realises that not everyone fancies becoming a Pretty, and it makes her question her own self. When she has to go after Shay and bring her back, she will discover what is true and false in this Ugly/Pretty world.

This dystopian world rocks! And yes, a world full of beautiful people living in peace is a dystopian world as opposed to a utopian world, wait till you read! Thanks to the numerous descriptions of the locations and the technology used in this new world, it is possible to picture the entire story. Scott Westerfeld's style is very visual so the reader gets caught up in the story from the start. By the way, I want a hoverboard for Christmas, I don't care if they don't exist. 

All the characters are very well described and have amazing personalities. There is no inequality in this new world between men and women so none of the girls are weak or passive. Which is just *YAY girl power*! 
Tally is amazing in her quest to be who she wants to be and have what she wants. It is hardly her fault if people get in the way. I loved her spirit and how mischief is her middle name. She is incredibly courageous and faithful to her friends. The most that she can, at least, by staying true to herself. I also like Shay who is just as strong as Tally. David (only character with a non-weird name) is a very interesting character in the series and I really liked how he was brought up to the story.
The Specials - Pretties but with special abilities - are scary but look awesome (in the evil kind of way).

What I particularly loved in this book is the fact that many serious themes are brought up in a very subtle way and don't even look serious behind the mischievious tricks and the action. But they are still present and make the Rusties that we are think about what we are doing. I am not going to give away what happened to the Rusties because it will be revealed in the course of the book, but it could happen people. Scary!

One of the theme I noted was the importance of recycling versus history. This might look weird put together, and how it should ever be opposed, but in this world, everything is created instantly and can be recycled just as instantly. When Tally gets to the Smoke where Shay has fled, she is surprised at seeing those old battered things and even more surprised at liking them. She says it better herself:
In the city, she'd owned lots of things - practically anything she wanted came out of the wall. But city things were disposable and replaceable, as interchangeable as the T-shirt, jacket, and skirt combinations or dorm uniforms. Here in the Smoke, objects grew old, carrying their histories with them in dings and scratches and tatters.
A world which tries to live in harmony with its habitat by recycling is one thing. A world without history is another.

I reviewed this book as part of the Body Image and Self Perception Month, hosted by Jo @ Once Upon a Bookcase and I find that the world created by Scott Westerfeld takes several issues from today's world and transforms them or talks about them in this new world.
Anorexia for a start is mentioned as a negative - ugly - disease where people (Rusties) stopped eating in a world overflowing with delicacies and even died of it. I liked that Scott Westerfeld's Pretties weren't skinny, it's quite a change.
Pretties have this fear of old age. Tally has a very strong reaction to an old Ugly. Old Pretties still look young and unmarked. A world without old people is also a world without history, so some themes find each other while talking about entirely different things.
Being Pretty is unnatural in this world. There is only one type of beauty accepted and everyone gets an operation to be this way. This is one of the dangers of a generalisation of some beauty standard to a systemic level. As evil as it sounds, it is actually boring. But that's just my opinion. Can you imagine a world where everyone looks the same: everyone is Pretty and no one is Pretty. Like I said, *boring*. But all Uglies are brought up to think they are all Ugly and that only Pretties are worth looking at. If they hadn't been brought up like that, maybe they wouldn't even care what they looked like. 
*wink wink nudge nudge* today's society and the role of the media.

This book is extremely rich and interesting. The writing is amazing and you go through Tally's adventure with her, taking the blows when she takes some and coming up with the worse tricks when she needs to create mayhem. But the book isn't only an action-packed story with explosions and kick-ass characters. Some very strong themes are developed and each of them will resonate differently depending on the reader. It is an absolute must read.

All fans of The Hunger Games and dystopia in general should fall in love with this series as easily as a hoverboard jump without an iron source under *obviously you need to read the book to understand that*. But I would also advise it to the aficionados of a strong female main character, because you are getting one badass chick.