Thursday, May 17, 2012

Uglies: Shay's Story by Scott Westerfeld and illustrated by Steven Cummings

So, I much prefer reading novels to reading graphic novels. I can totally get into graphic novels or manga, much like any normal person, but it takes me a little while to get used to the whole setup because I read so few of them compared the amount of books I read. And while my inner-librarian likes anything that will get kids into reading, another part of me hates retellings done in graphic novel format. I like original graphic novels. And sometimes when things get redone, I can’t help but think how the original artist would feel. I feel this way about movies too, yet I still watch them. I’m a contradictory person, I guess.
But, this book is kind of different. For starters, it’s Westerfeld, and if anything has his name on it, I think it’s safe to say at this point, I will read it. And it’s not a normal re-telling. It’s retold from a different character’s perspective. His original series is told from Tally’s point of view. And I always kind of thought of Shay as the somewhat dumber, and rather selfish best friend. So, I was glad to be able to see her in a different light. Also, Westerfeld, had a say in how his characters were illustrated. That helps a lot. I wish more authors were given the right to have more of a say in their retellings.
It takes place around the same time Uglies began. Instead of just witnessing Tally’s abandonment by all her new, pretty friends, though we get to see Shay hanging out with the Crims, a group of uglies who plan lots of tricks, like turning a whole pretty party naked at the exact same time. And the reason we find out that Shay didn’t go with her friends to begin with to the Smoke, was because David wrote her a letter saying he knew she was in love with him, and that she shouldn’t risk everything for him, but should risk it for herself.
Instead of the harsh letter affecting her too much, Shay decides David is an egocentric jerk, and that she will do what she wants for herself, no matter what anyway. And then she meets Tally, in Prettytown, doing her own worthy trick. And it’s so frustrating to see Shay trying to convince Tally that she is pretty, and that she doesn’t need a surgery. And it’s even harder to watch the two boys who will eventually love Tally, love Shay first (both of them!) Shay and David had a first kiss! And the whole reason Zane didn’t go to the Smoke in the beginning (well maybe not the whole reason because he does tell Shay he knows Special Circumstances is real) is because he also got a note from David saying not to go just because he was in love with Shay.
So, I guess what I’m saying is here I finally understand the levels of Shay’s anger. Not only did Tally cause the Smoke to be found out, bring on an unwanted pretty surgery, and totally betray her, but she also managed to get both the guys who originally loved Shay, to love her…That is a lot to forgive in a best friend! And I also liked seeing certain things in this format! I loved seeing the smoke! I loved seeing the hover boards and getting a better idea of what flying them looks like!
Watching Shay and Tally initially become friends was nice too. In the book, I just didn’t fully understand their friendship. But, the risks, tricks, and flying they do together that I can see in this format, made their initial bond seem stronger to me.
The only thing I was not a fan of was how abbreviated everything was. I would have liked to see more of the Specials finding Smoke, more of the fighting, and definitely more action. Though, I get this format limits length a little bit.
Overall, I was super impressed here! I loved getting Shay’s side. I loved seeing how these characters might look. Though none of the uglies were actually ugly. I’m not sure if that was on purpose or not –you know everything being a matter of perspective and what not. They did all kind of look like super cute Sailor Moon anime versions of what I’d myself imagine, but in this case it worked. It worked with the overall statement of the book. I loved how the end was portrayed with the surgery! And I definitely loved getting more of a story I thought I would never hear more of! I give it a 10/10, and I’m so glad this exists!

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