cover image Uglies: Shay’s Story

Uglies: Shay’s Story

Scott Westerfeld, Devlin Grayson, and Steve Cummings. Del Rey, $10.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-0-345-52722-6

The story of Westerfeld’s bestselling YA dystopia, Uglies, retold from the point of view of recurring frenemy Shay, this original graphic novel is set in a time when we are remembered only as the long-vanished “Rusties,” a future time when discord is suppressed through ruthlessly enforced conformity and obligatory plastic surgery at age 16. Eschewing a future of bland artificial beauty as a Pretty, Shay yearns for freedom. An encounter with the flawed and alluring David, a covert envoy from the Smoke, a secret community of nonconformists, may offer Shay the escape she craves, but despite her best efforts Shay faces unexpected rejection and unwitting sabotage from her closest friends. While Cumming’s mangaesque art is craftsmanlike, it is also limited in its range; the underage Uglies and the older Pretty cohort appear similarly flawless, undermining a vital element of the story. The strength of the tale comes from its change in perspective. Shay is a more interesting protagonist than the rather passive Tally, protagonist of the Uglies novels; unlike Tally, Shay is driven to act by her own desires and goals rather than the desires and goals of others, and the story that results is far more engrossing. (Feb.)