Bought for myself.
From the back cover: "Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she's completely popular. It's everything she's ever wanted. But beneath all the fun - the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom - is a nagging sense that something's wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally's ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what's wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold. Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life - because the authorities don't intend to let anyone with this information survive."
I was extremely eager to read Pretties, the second book in Westerfeld's Uglies series. You can read my review of Uglies here.
It took me a little while to get into Pretties. It's written with teens in mind, and I had to get my head back into that space to really enjoy it. Once I did, though, I enjoyed it very much, and am eagerly waiting to pick up a copy of Specials.
Tally is a wonderful heroine, she's flawed, and complex, and a great sympathetic character for girls to relate to. Pretties opens with her trying to negotiate the world of being a "new pretty", but never quite feeling like she fits in. Then she meets Zane, who has some clever tricks up his sleeve to keep them "bubbly", that is, clearminded, so they can remember their pasts and live life consciously and deliberately. Soon Tally and Zane's exploits lead to a mini-revolution in New Pretty Town and more trouble for Tally.
I felt that this book focussed more on characters and plot, and less on the big issues than Uglies. The second half of the book turned into a fast-paced adventure which kept me turning the pages quickly. We also get to see just how big a villian Dr Cable is, so finally Tally is clear on who her nemesis is. The ending of Pretties is quite heart-breaking, leaving me desperate to get into Specials so I can see how the story plays out.
Often trilogies fall down in the middle act, which is often simply a bridge between the opening story and the climactic conclusion. I haven't read Specials yet, so I can't tell you how Pretties stacks up to it, but I can tell you that it's a satisfying follow up to Uglies, and well worth a read.