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Pretties by Scott Westerfield
Review by Kaydence
Scott Westerfield’s Pretties is the second book in a quadrilogy about a utopian society where
being pretty is the answer to solving the problems that lead to the end of society hundreds of
years ago. At the age of sixteen everybody is operated to give them all the best qualities.
This story follows Tally after she becomes pretty. She remembers parts of her life before but
can’t piece it all together. As she’s trying to fit in and become a Crim, a group of pretties who
were criminals in their ugly days, she is visited by some people from her past. Her curiosity gets
the best of her and she follows some clues to find pills that will cure her. The catch with the
operation is, they implant lesions in their heads to make them forget their past and stay happy.
These pills kill the lesions and restore your normal brain.
Tally finds the pills, with the help of the Crim leader Zane, and is scared to take them. As
Special Circumstances is coming they make a quick decision to split the pills and each take
one. They slowly get back their memories and have to send a message to the Smoke, the
rebellion, but can’t because of the metal bracelets that track their every move. Instead they plan
a big stunt to break a floating ice rink while people are on it. They know the news of this will
spread far and wide and the Smoke will see it as a sign that they’re cured.
Their next problem was escaping to the Smoke. Their problem is they can’t with their interface
bracelets that don’t come off. Their other problem is Zane’s headaches and medical problem
that can only be cured in the Smoke. While they try to figure out ways to get them off they also
have to figure out a quick way to get out once they're off. With Special Circumstances watching
them especially close and Tally’s best friend disappearing. This task isn’t easy.
Finally they figure out that heat will get off the bracelets and hot air balloons will get them out.
With the help of the other Crims they get their bracelets off and get out. At the last minute one of
the Crims starts to chicken out and Tally misses the spot where she had to jump. She jumps out anyway and ends up in a secluded part outside of town. There lives an experimental society where people live like cavemen and have long lasting rivalries. Tally soon finds out that Special Circumstances is using these people to figure out the need for violence and to rid it from the people in the city. It is guarded by an impenetrable force that can only be flown over. She has to wait a few days, with a tribe that believes she is a god because of her beauty, until Special Circumstance doctors show up. She is able to easily take their hover cars since they don’t expect any city people to be there. She gets to the ruins and finds the Smoke where Zane is getting worse.
Not too long after she arrives a tracker that was implanted in Zane’s tooth in a previous hospital
visit is set off and Special Circumstances are on their way to the Smoke to take them all back to
the city. Zane’s isn’t strong enough to move so the rest of the Smoke flees and Tally stays back
with Zane. When Special Circumstances arrives among them is Shay to take them away.
This book is a great sequel and didn’t ruin the plot. I liked reading about Tally slowly getting her
memories back and piecing together her past. Reading about her and Zane’s transformation
and new clarity of life was really interesting. We got to meet new people and see the different
sides of old people. It really added more details and cleared this up about their “utopian” society.
There were some things I could have done without. Shay’s storyline was a little confusing and
parts were unnecessary. I also could have done without the experimental city. It was interesting
but I felt it didn’t really follow along with the story.
Overall the book was an interesting addition. I give the book an 8/10 and recommend to anyone
who enjoys utopian society stories.