When I read the first paragraph, I thought this was going to be another lame teen novel. It begins, "The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit." It goes on to detail what you would need to feed your cat in order to get the correct color of sunset-barf. I don't know why the author chose to keep this opening: it has nothing to do with the rest of the tone or writing of the book. So don't judge it on the first paragraph. After that, I was instantly hooked on this post-apocalyptic novel about a world in which everyone is surgically made to be "pretty" when they are 16. The world in which all the "uglies" and "pretties" live is very well developed, with original details, innovations, and flaws. The writing is effortless and I enjoyed the characters. The novel is not exactly unpredictable; yet, I was hooked from start to end.
If you like science fiction, I found a Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. short story called "Harrison Bergeron" that is similar in theme, except that instead of trying to raise everyone up to the standard of equality, the future world is bringing everyone down to a generic level.
Definitely check it out!
Author: Scott Westerfeld