Review: Uglies: Shay’s Story by Scott Westerfeld

Title:  Uglies: Shay’s Story
Author:  Scott Westerfeld, Devin Grayson, Steven Cummings
Series:  Uglies Graphic Novel #1
Publisher:  Del Ray, an imprint of Random House, Inc.
Publication Date:  March 6, 2012
Pages:  192
Format/Source:  Paperback/Purchased

Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Graphic Novel, Manga, Science Fiction, Dystopian

“This whole game is just designed to make us hate ourselves.”—Shay

Uglies told Tally Youngblood’s version of life in Uglyville and the budding rebellion against the Specials. Now comes an exciting graphic novel revealing new adventures in the Uglies world—as seen through the eyes of Shay, Tally’s rebellious best friend who’s not afraid to break the rules, no matter the cost.

A few months shy of her sixteenth birthday, Shay eagerly awaits her turn to become a Pretty—a rite-of-passage operation called “the Surge” that transforms ordinary Uglies into paragons of beauty. Yet after befriending the Crims, a group of fellow teens who refuse to take anything in society at face value, Shay starts to question the whole concept. And as the Crims explore beyond the monitored borders of Uglyville into the forbidden, ungoverned wild, Shay must choose between the perks of being Pretty and the rewards of being real. (From Goodreads)

Highly Anticipated…

I absolutely LOVE the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, so when I heard that there was going to be a manga, I was really excited.  I went out and bought the book on its release day, but I didn’t end up reading it until Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon.  It ended up being a great book, and a perfect one for my first Readathon!

Superb Artwork…

I can’t write a review for a manga/graphic novel without mentioning the artwork, so I have to say that I think Steven Cummings did a spectacular job.  Shay was a lot prettier than I had imagined her in my head, although I think she doesn’t look as pretty on the cover as she does on the inside.  And David at times looked like a young Christian Bale, which I was totally okay with!  And it was wonderful to see the Uglies world come to life.  I do kind of wish that the inside had been in color, but maybe that, plus the anime-style drawing, is what makes it a manga?  This is my first manga/graphic novel so I really have no idea about the terminology.

A Great Addition to the Series…

I also think Scott Westerfeld and Devin Grayson did a fantastic job of adapting the Uglies series into a manga, while still creating a fresh, new story from Shay’s point of view.  Shay was kind of an annoying character in the original series, but I think this story really depicted why she acted certain ways, or made certain decisions, and that made her a much more likable and complex character.  And David really seemed like more of a jerk in this story, so I can totally see why Shay would act the way she does towards him in the original series.

My rating for Uglies: Shay’s Story by Scott Westerfeld:

Actually 4.5 stars.  The drawings were beautiful, the story was great, and I can’t wait to read the next book!

Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Random House
You may also enjoy:  UgliesThe Maze Runner 

Disclaimer:  I purchased this book myself.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.

(*Note:  I am currently on vacation, and won’t be able to respond to any comments for a while.  But I will respond eventually, I promise!)


  1. fakesteph

    June 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I totally want to read this one! I like that the manga adaptation is a new story instead of a straight adaptation. It makes me want to reread the orinal books (And get to Specials and Extras).

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 1, 2012 at 9:10 pm

      Um, yeah, you need to read Specials and Extras! My hubby is reading Extras right now. I really love the series, and I think Uglies and Extras are my favorites. But this manga was really great, and yeah, it was great that it wasn't just a straight adaptation.

  2. Bittner

    June 20, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I love it when authors do graphic novels as companions to your favorite series! They just add something completely different to that world. Dean Koontz has some for the Odd Thomas series that our a prequel to the first book. I love graphic novels but I just don't read them enough

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 1, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      I need to read more graphic novels/manga! I really enjoyed this one! But I really don't know what other ones that I would enjoy… I guess I could just pick some up at the library and give them a try!

  3. Brandileigh2003 (Blkosiners Book Blog)

    June 21, 2012 at 12:48 am

    Oh! I loved this series too, but I am not that into manga, so don't know about this one.
    Thanks for review.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 1, 2012 at 9:13 pm

      Well, if you don't like manga, it might not be for you. But if you see it at the library, maybe you should check it out since you loved the series!

  4. Jessie Marie

    June 21, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Great review! I like these sort of deviations from a writer's norms that make the story that much deeper, the characters that much more understandable (or crazy, or wild, or vicious, or whatever) and when they can add artwork to the mix, that's awesome. Sometimes I wish more books became graphic novels because there are some scenes you wish you could see exactly as the author saw it. Sort of like cross referencing. : )

    Anyway, great review. I haven't read any of this series but I may have to pick it up! Hope you're enjoying your vacation!

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 1, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      Thanks! Yeah, it was really cool to see the story from Shay's perspective, and that really made her more of a complex character for me. I don't think she was a flat character to begin with, but this book definitely helped me understand her thought process. And you should totally give Uglies a chance sometime!

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