I'm a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world. Life in plastic, it's fantastic!
– Aqua, “Barbie Girl”
For those of you who have yet to read these profoundly moving – and immensely important – novels, Westerfeld offers up an overview on his website:
I’m not a big graphic novel fan but this was a truly fabulous reading experience – the story was obviously gripping but the vividly imagined visuals brought the characters and the locales (like the Ruins) to life. Reading this graphic novel compelled me to order all of the Uglies novels – I do want to read them again but I also want to have copies around for my daughters when they’re old enough to read: the lessons to be learned and the wisdom to be gained in Westerfeld’s dystopic vision is, in my mind, absolutely essential.
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to understand the thematic significance of this storyline, especially when it comes to young readers. Just look around: we are being bombarded with images of human beings that are physically abnormal, unnatural – inhuman! – everywhere we turn. Botox, dermal fillers, breast implants, liposuction, abdominal etching, toddler teeth whitening, hair transplants, steroid abuse – it’s insane!
Is it any wonder so many of our kids are growing up filled with self-doubt and self-hate?
An excerpt from Uglies sums up why these novels are so important:
“We're not freaks…we're normal. We may not be gorgeous, but at least we're not hyped-up Barbie dolls.”
With an Uglies movie in the works (it’s rumored to be released later this year), I can’t recommend these novels highly enough to young readers – and to parents of young readers – and this new graphic novel is a perfect way to introduce new readers to this saga.
“I don't want the doctors to take me apart and put me back together. I want to make myself.”
― Uglies: Shay's Story by Scott Westerfeld
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
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