The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Summer Reading I: Pretties

When I started my teaching blog, I came up with a personal tradition of using the summer to write reviews of the books that I read during the break from working with students. (I refuse to say it is a complete break, because I just finished a week of professional development, which came on the heels of a two-week STEM enrichment camp. I do get about two weeks off, but I am going to be spending most of that time packing and cleaning my house. It is going to be a busy summer, that’s for sure!)

Anyway, the first book I have finished reading this summer is Pretties by Scott Westerfeld. This is the second book in his Uglies series, which is a dystopian novel centered around a society in which every person receives complete cosmetic surgery at the age of 16 to make them “pretty.” The dark side of this practice is that the doctors  performing the operations also give the people brain lesions that make them docile and kind of dimwitted.

The protagonist of the story, Tally Youngblood, starts the series wanting to become “pretty” but changes her mind after she learns of the lesions. Then she volunteers to go back to the city to have the surgery so that she can test an experimental cure concocted by a former doctor who fled the city to hide in the wilderness.

The series is great for teens and older, but there is some content, most notably frequent consumption of alcoholic beverages, that I think would be inappropriate for students in the elementary grades to read. I won’t be able to finish the series (there are two more books) until after I move this summer, because my wife accidentally packed them up when we were boxing up our library. That being said, I have enjoyed the Uglies series so far and look forward to finishing the story at the end of summer.

In the meantime, I plan on finishing Hattie Big Sky (listening to the audiobook), Guided Math in Action (a book I am going to be reviewing for Middleweb), and a short stack of other professional books. I’ll probably also tackle some adult fiction, such as American Gods by Neil Gaiman, if I have time.


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