Friday, February 17, 2012

Uglies: Shay's Story (Graphic Novel)Scott Westerfeld, Steven Cummings and Devin Grayson (illustrator)-

Uglies: Shay's Story (Graphic Novel)

Scott Westerfeld, Steven Cummings and Devin Grayson (illustrator)

Del Rey, Mar 6 2012, $10.99

ISBN: 9780345527226

In Uglyville humans are ugly until their sixteenth birthday. At that time they must choose to become a Pretty and enjoy the fruits of society or remain as they are. Most opt for the Surge to change them into a Pretty as the materialistic hedonism of obedience supersedes toiling as an Ugly.

As Shay nears her landmark birthday, she looks forward to transforming into a Pretty; as does her friend Tally. Both are daredevil risk takers tampering with their hoverboard safety mechanisms. After a crash landing, Shay meets Zane known as Stretch. She says her friends call her “Skinny”. He tells her he plans to go out not up as she did. Shay thinks he means the burbs with the middle Pretties, but he says beyond the grid. Stretch introduces Skinny to the skeptical teen Crims who question anything society claims as fact. Feeling an affinity with the Crims, as her sixteenth birthday nears; she must decide between Shay the Pretty in the city or Skinny the Ugly in the wilderness.

Fans of Tally’s saga sees the story from Shay’s perspective in this terrific graphic book that captures the same values questions of what rights a citizen has to say no to a society demanding conformity. The storyline is fast-paced with illustrations enhancing the action. Readers will appreciate Shay’s choice in a society that demands compliance in exchange for a life of “pleasure”. Though targeting middle school children, the entertaining storyline will remind readers of commentary by Dylan Ratigan (see Greedy Bastards) and Charles J. Sykes (see A Nation of Moochers: America's Addiction to Getting Something for Nothing) though Shay insists there is a price to pay.

Harriet Klausner

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