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5 Hawthorne Children's Young Adult- General

Pretties

by

Pretties Cover

 

Out of Print
 

Excerpt

Exerpt from Pretties

CRIMINAL

Getting dressed was always the hardest part of the afternoon.

The invitation to Valentino Mansion said semiformal, but it was the semi part that was tricky. Like a night without a party, "semi" opened up too many possibilities. Bad enough for boys, for whom it could mean jacket and tie (skipping the tie with certain kinds of collars), or all white and shirtsleeves (but only on summer afternoons), or any number of longcoats, waistcoats, tailcoats, kilts, or really nice sweaters. For girls, though, the definition simply exploded, as definitions usually did here in New Pretty Town.

Tally almost preferred formal white-tie or black-tie parties. The clothes were less comfortable and the parties no fun until everyone got drunk, but at least you didn't have to think so hard about getting dressed.

"Semiformal, semiformal," she said, her eyes drifting over the expanse of her open closet, the carousel stuttering back and forth as it tried to keep up with Tally's random eyemouse clicks, setting clothes swaying on their hangers. Yes, "semi" was definitely a bogus word.

"Is it even a word?" Tally asked aloud. "'Semi'?" It felt strange in her mouth, which was dry as cotton because of last night.

"Only half of one," the room said, probably thinking it was clever.

"Figures," Tally muttered.

She collapsed back onto her bed and stared up at the ceiling, feeling the room threaten to spin a little. It didn't seem fair, having to get worked up over half a word. "Make it go away," she said.

The room misunderstood, and slid shut the wall over her closet. Tally didn't have the strength to explain that she'd really meant her hangover, which was sprawled in her head like an overweight cat, sullen and squishy and disinclined to budge.

Last night, she and Peris had gone skating with a bunch of other Crims, trying out the new rink hovering over Nefertiti Stadium. The sheet of ice, held aloft by a grid of lifters, was thin enough to see through, and was kept transparent by a horde of little Zambonies darting among the skaters like nervous water bugs. The fireworks exploding in the stadium below made it glow like some kind of schizoid stained glass that changed colors every few seconds.

They all had to wear bungee jackets in case anyone broke through. No one ever did, of course, but the thought that at any moment the world could fall away with a sudden crack kept Tally drinking plenty of champagne.

Zane, who was pretty much the leader of the Crims, got bored and tipped a whole bottle onto the ice. He said that alcohol had a lower freezing point than water, so it might send someone tumbling down into the fireworks. But he hadn't poured out enough to save Tally's head this morning.

The room made the special sound that meant another Crim was calling.

"Hey."

"Hey, Tally."

"Shay-la!" Tally struggled up onto one elbow. "I need help!"

"The party? I know."

"What's the deal with semiformal, anyway?"

Shay laughed. "Tally-wa, you are so missing. Didn't you get the ping?"

"What ping?"

"It went out hours ago."

Tally glanced at her interface ring, still on her bedside table. She never wore it at night, an old habit from when she'd been an ugly, sneaking out all the time. It sat there softly pulsing, still muted for sleeptime. "Oh. Just woke up."

"Well forget semi anything. They changed the bash to fancy dress. We have to come up with costumes!"

Tally checked the time: just before five in the afternoon. "What, in three hours?"

"Yeah, I know. I'm all over the place with mine. It's so shaming. Can I come down?"

"Please."

"In five?"

"Sure. Bring breakfast. Bye."

Tally let her head fall back onto the pillow. The bed was spinning like a hoverboard now, the day just starting and already wiping out.

She slipped on her interface ring and listened angrily as the ping played, saying that no one would be admitted tonight without a really bubbly costume. Three hours to come up with something decent, and everyone else had a huge head start.

Sometimes, it felt like being a real criminal had been much, much simpler.

Shay had breakfast in tow: lobster omelettes, toast, hash browns, corn fritters, grapes, chocolate muffins, and Bloodies — more food than a whole packet of calorie purgers could erase. The overburdened tray shivered in the air, its lifters trembling like a littlie arriving at school, first day ever.

"Um, Shay? Are we going as blimps or something?"

Shay giggled. "No, but you sounded bad. And you have to be bubbly tonight. All the Crims are coming to vote you in."

"Great, bubbly." Tally sighed, relieving the tray of a Bloody Mary. She frowned at the first sip. "Not salty enough."

"No problem," Shay said, scraping off the caviar decorating an omelette and stirring it in.

"Ew, fishy!"

"Caviar is good with anything." Shay took another spoonful and put it straight into her mouth, closing her eyes to chew the little fish eggs. She twisted her ring to start some music.

Tally swallowed and drank more Bloody, which at least stopped the room from spinning. The chocolate muffins were starting to smell good. Then she'd move on to the hash browns. Then the omelette; she might even try the caviar. Breakfast was the meal when Tally most felt like she had to make up for the time she'd lost out in the wild. A good breakfast binge made her feel in control, as if a storm of city-made tastes could erase the months of stews and SpagBol.

The music was new and made her heart beat faster. "Thanks, Shay-la. You are totally life-saving."

"No problem, Tally-wa."

"So where were you last night, anyway?"

Shay just smiled, like she'd done something bad.

"What? New boy?"

Shay shook her head. Batted her eyes.

"You didn't surge again, did you?" Tally asked, and Shay giggled. "You did. You're not supposed to more than once a week. Could you be any more missing?"

"It's okay, Tally-wa. Just local."

"Where?" Shay's face didn't look any different. Was the surgery hidden under her pajamas?

"Look closer." Shay's long lashes fluttered again.

Tally leaned forward, staring into the perfect copper eyes, wide and speckled with jewel dust, and her heart beat still faster. A month after coming to New Pretty Town, Tally was still awestruck by other pretties' eyes. They were so huge and welcoming, bright with interest. Shay's lush pupils seemed to murmur, I'm listening to you. You fascinate me. They narrowed down the world to only Tally, all alone in the radiance of Shay's attention.

It was even weirder with Shay, because Tally had known her back in ugly days, before the operation had made her this way.

"Closer."

Tally took a steadying breath, the room spinning again, but in a good way. She gestured for the windows to transpare a little more, and in the sunlight she saw the new additions. "Ooh, pretty-making."

Bolder than all the other implanted glitter, twelve tiny rubies ringed each of Shay's pupils, glowing softly red against emerald irises.

"Bubbly, huh?"

"Yeah. But hang on...are the bottom-left ones different?" Tally squinted harder. One jewel in each eye seemed to be flickering, a tiny white candle in the coppery depths.

"It's five o'clock!" Shay said. "Get it?"

It took Tally a second to remember how to read the big clock tower in the center of town. "Um, but that's seven. Wouldn't bottom-right be five o'clock?"

Shay snorted. "They run counterclockwise, silly. I mean, so boring otherwise."

A laugh bubbled up in Tally. "So wait. You have jewels in your eyes? And they tell time? And they go backward? Isn't that maybe one thing too many, Shay?"

Tally immediately regretted what she'd said. The expression that clouded Shay's face was tragic, sucking away the radiance of a moment before. She looked about to cry, except without puffy eyes or a red nose. New surge was always a delicate topic, like a new hairstyle, almost.

"You hate them," Shay softly accused.

"Of course I don't. Like I said: totally pretty-making."

"Really?"

"Very. And it's good they go backward."

Shay's smile returned, and Tally breathed a sigh of relief, still not believing herself. It was the kind of mistake only brand-new pretties made, and she'd had the operation over a month ago. Why was she still saying bogus things? If she made a comment like that tonight, one of the Crims might vote against her. It only took one veto to shut you out.

And then she'd be alone, almost like running away again.

Shay said, "Maybe we should go as clock towers tonight, in honor of my new eyeballs."

Tally laughed, knowing the lame joke meant she was forgiven. She and Shay had been through a lot together, after all. "Have you talked to Peris and Fausto?"

Shay nodded. "They said we're all supposed to dress criminal. They've got an idea already, but it's secret."

"That's so bogus. Like they were such bad boys. All they ever did in the ugly days was sneak out and maybe cross the river a few times. They never even made it to the Smoke."

The song ended just then, and Tally's last word fell into sudden silence. She tried to think of what to say, but the conversation just faded out, like fireworks in a dark sky. The next song seemed to take a long time to start.

When it did, she was relieved and said, "Crim costumes should be easy, Shay-la. We're the two biggest criminals in town."

Copyright&#copy; 2005 by Scott Westerfeld

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Kacey, January 26, 2014 (view all comments by Kacey)
Ahh!!! Tally got prettified and now her head is all bubbly! While this book is pretty exciting, it can be a little frustrating since the main character basically had her memory wiped. The reader knows more than Tally and you just want to yell at the book to tell her what to do!
Fun book but repeats a lot from the first book.
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jumpergirl3005, February 10, 2009 (view all comments by jumpergirl3005)
This is the second book in the series. It picks up one month after Uglies leaves off. It is just as interesting and well written as the first book. We learn a lot in the first book and this one continues to reveal new things. As Tally fights for the cure and freedom, we learn more about why the "government" puts lesions on the brain, why Special Circumstances is so interested, and how far some will go for their own cure. A wonderful book, that will really make you think. A must read for all teenagers.
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(5 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
Sonicka, February 6, 2008 (view all comments by Sonicka)
I teach Middle School and these books are very popular right now. I have great success getting more reluctant readers- especially girls- interested in this series. They are full of action, but also address the issues of what some call "looksism"- how we treat people based on how they look. What's more important, to be pretty on the inside, or the outside?
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(6 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780689865398
Author:
Westerfeld, Scott
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Author:
Pelleteri, Carissa
Subject:
Action & Adventure
Subject:
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - General
Subject:
Science fiction
Subject:
Social Situations - General
Subject:
Beauty, Personal
Subject:
Social Situations - New Experience
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - Science Fiction
Subject:
Social Issues - General
Subject:
Fantasy & Magic
Copyright:
Edition Description:
B102
Publication Date:
November 2005
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
Young adult
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
7 x 5 in 8.89 oz
Age Level:
12-17

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Children's » Featured Titles
Children's » Sale Books
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Science Fiction
Featured Titles » General
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » New Experience
Young Adult » General

Pretties Used Trade Paper
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$4.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Simon Pulse - English 9780689865398 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Pretties continues to ask questions about friendship and betrayal, while building one of the most fascinating worlds in recent SF. It pulls no punches, gives no easy answers, and ends with a shocking cliffhanger that will leave you counting the days until the final book."
"Review" by , "Exciting plot with intriguing technology — part three is eagerly awaited."
"Review" by , "Riveting and compulsively readable, this action-packed sequel does not disappoint. Just as good as its predecessor, it will leave fans breathlessly waiting for the trilogy's final volume."
"Synopsis" by , The second book in the Uglies series focuses on Tally, who discovers that turning pretty comes with a terrible price. Now that she's been transformed and is pretty, she is perfectly happy with things as they are. Is there anything left of the old Tally?
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