Book - 2005
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Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that? Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there. But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world -- and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.
Publisher: New York : Simon Pulse, 2005
Edition: 1st Simon Pulse ed
ISBN: 9780689865381
Branch Call Number: / SF WESTERF SCOTT
Characteristics: 425 p. ; 18 cm


From Library Staff

bookmaster5000 Dec 16, 2009

Uglies is a really great start in this Westerfeld trilogy. It starts with Tally who is approaching the age of 16. On her birthday, she gets to have the operation and become a Pretty and move to New Pretty Town. This is all that she wants; it's what she was raised to believe. But then things start... Read More »

Tally was born ugly, like everyone else. When she turns 16, it's finally her time to get the operation that will make her pretty, also like everyone else. What happens if she doesn't want the surgery, is she ready for a life on the run?

425p. (Gr 9-12)

Everyone is ugly until their 16th birthday when an operation transforms them into a pretty. Tally has second thoughts about her operation, what would happen if she refused the operation and ran away?

From the critics

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laurauk May 04, 2017

12+ Clean read for tweens and teens. Uglies is number one in the Uglies series. A futuristic, dystopian fantasy. Tally is waiting on her 16th birthday when everyone in society gets government imposed plastic surgery to become pretty. Tally is happy with her fate until she meets Shay who wants to run away to a place called The Smoke where people live in the wilderness without surgery. Tally chooses between betraying friendships or becoming pretty. Well written, with lots of adventure.

Aug 07, 2016

This book is good for those who like dystopian fiction, just long and hard to get through sometimes. As usual for this genre, my favorite parts of the story were often just the details about this universe and how their society runs. The main character, Tally, is difficult to get behind and I find myself wishing that some of the side characters got more time then she did. All in all, a good read if you have the time to get through some boring pieces.

Jul 28, 2016

I love how this book really could happen in the future, but sometimes Tally (the main charector) makes the craziest choices. This is a great series that can deliver some great messages, too.

Jul 25, 2016

Tally is an Ugly and wants to be pretty. But after she becomes friends with Shay and she disappears to the Smoke, things get quite difficult. There were moments where I really wish I could almost slap some sense into Tally, but then again, I thought it was a way of showing that she isn't perfect and shows that sometimes she doesn't make the best and smartest decisions which I found made her quite different from other stories. I really loved the whole message behind this, about excepting who you are and that it isn't only our physical appearances that make us beautiful.
"What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful."
Through most of the book, Tally believes she is truly Ugly until she is told otherwise and actually accepts herself for who she is. When we live in a society full of people who wish they could change something about themselves because they don't think they are pretty, I really think they should read this. It really gets into the whole excepting who you are and I think that's why I really liked this book. All in all, I was happy with this read and I can't wait to read the second one. I rate this story four out of five stars.
- @Aweesha_Says of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Jul 19, 2016

I love this book and it's series. The dystopian setting is very interesting to get lost in. The metaphors of cultural pressure and conformity are also very special in this novel.

Jun 27, 2016

Very Weird...I do not recommend this book to others.

Jun 26, 2016

My friend got me this book for my birthday. I looked at the cover and thought it would be one of those books that show you how to do your nails and makeup and stuff and she knew I wasn't into all that. But when I read the book it was NOT what I expected. It is definitely one of my favourite books and I would recommend it to almost anyone because it has everything. Drama, adventure,plot twists, fantasy and reality even some romance. BEST BOOK EVER.

Jun 20, 2016

This is a great book!

Mar 19, 2016

My best friend who's also obsessed with books told me this series was way too predictable and she couldn't get through the first book. Can I just say how wrong she was! This is one of the most plot twisting books I've read, and it doesn't ever stop! I'm about half way through the series right now and I love it, defiantly, defiantly give it a try.

cmlibrary_snewsome Dec 22, 2015

Uglies is the first is a series of books that gets you thinking beyond the outer looks of a person. It is a fun and adventurous look into the world of "What if?" What would you do if you had to choose going along with the norm or fighting the system?

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Oct 08, 2016

black_pony_62 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Oct 11, 2015

smileyzummy thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 99

Mar 07, 2015

LZhaoVIP thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 11 and 15

Dec 27, 2014

NeverEndingCycle thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Aug 18, 2014

red_dolphin_449 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Jul 09, 2014

ruth_ubc thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 12 and 16

Jun 22, 2014

afry882 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jun 22, 2014

FollenK5 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 16 and 17

renabackstrom Jun 09, 2014

renabackstrom thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 12 and 18

yellow_butterfly_1202 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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Add a Quote

Jul 19, 2016

"It's not culture, it's evolution!"

Jul 19, 2016

"That's the worst thing they do to you, to any of you. Whatever those brain lesions are all about, the worst damage is done before they even pick up the knife: You're all brainwashed into believing you're ugly."

Jul 19, 2016

"Shay! Come on. It's just for fun."

"Making ourselves feel ugly is not fun."

Jul 02, 2015

"You're all brainwashed into believing your ugly."

Jun 12, 2015


Jun 01, 2014

the sky was the color of cat vomit

May 31, 2014

"You left a lot of things behind when you came here - your parents, your city, your whole life. And you are starting to like the Smoke, I can tell. You get what we're doing here in a way that most runaways don't"

Aug 19, 2013

”I'm Tally Youngblood," she said. "Make me pretty."

Sep 08, 2012

"I think they made newspapers here," David said. "Like books, but you threw them away and got a new one every day."

"You're kidding."

"Not at all. And you thought we wasted trees in the Smoke!"

Hufflegirl Jul 29, 2012

“What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful.”
― Scott Westerfeld, Uglies

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Add a Summary

Jul 02, 2015

Tally wants to be a "Pretty" but her friend, Shay doesn't want to become a "Pretty so she runs away. The only way for Tally to become a "Pretty" is for her to bring Shay back from the "Smoke." But when she reaches the Smoke she has to decide whether she should stay in the "Smoke" or betray her friends.

vpl_childrens Aug 15, 2014

The first in a fascinating series set in a future where EVERYONE undergoes extreme body modification surgery to become "pretty" at age 16. But that is not all that is modified. Come along on this amazing journey with a group of young people who seek the truth about the becoming "pretty". Part two: Pretties, Part three: Specials. All highly recommended, swift and fun reads. -

Aug 19, 2013

Tally Youngblood lived as un ugly and dreamed about being an pretty. At this distinctive town people were born "Ugly" and when they turn sixteen they endure a surgery to make them pretty. As Tally knew more about the town and the outside world, her knowledge deepen and the desire of becoming a pretty declined.

Anita Popescu
Jul 10, 2012

In a future society, where mankind has had to rebuild, teens live in the bland residential zone of the Uglies - until they turn sixteen and undergo a surgery perfecting their physical features and enabling them to live happily in the world of Pretties. Tally Youngblood, who is about to turn sixteen, is ecstatic to get this perfect life until she meets Shay, a girl of similar age. They get along well except for the fact that Shay doesn't seem to want to have the surgery done to her and tells Tally how they can escape. Tally wants to forget about her: However, when she disappears, Special Circumstances wants to find her, and they plan to use Tally by threatening that she won't get the operation unless she does what they want.

Dec 13, 2011

Tally has been waiting all her life for the operation that will make her pretty: gorgeous features, perfect body shape, big beautiful eyes, so that she can look like all of the other sixteen-year-olds and join them in their eternal pretty party across the river. Right now she feels ugly and petulant, and has nothing better to do than sneak out and break the rules by trying to find her best friend, who already turned pretty and lives in that other glittering world she is waiting to join.

Then she meets someone else, someone who isn't sure that turning pretty is all it's cracked up to be. Pretty soon our heroine is entangled in intrigues, underground resistances, espionage, betrayal, and even gets to fall for someone along the way.

Aug 15, 2011

Tally is an ugly. She wants to be Pretty. After her best friend runs away from a surgery that every 16 year old undergoes to become "perfect", Tally is blackmailed by Special Circumstances to find her friend and the town of runaways- or stay ugly forever.

YSlibrarian May 07, 2011

Tally lives in a world where everyone receives plastic surgery to look beautiful and almost identical. She makes friends with someone who introduces her to the possibility of life beyond the shallow world of parties she has been looking forward to after her mandatory plastic surgery that she will have on her sixteenth birthday. She turns down the offer, not understanding how anyone would want to stay “ugly” but is blackmailed into going along as a spy for the Specials who enforce the falsely beautified and ditzified life of the city. Her plans to expose the rebels dissolve as she finds that individuality and aging aren’t so horrible after all

Oct 05, 2010

tally is going to get a operation to turn her pretty (perfect) which is the norm. she becomes friend with a girl who runs away from the city/operation. tally cant get the operation till she brings shay home to the city against her wishes. so to become normal/pretty/what shes always wanted, she has to betray her friend and the smoke, a group that lives on the outside which full of those who want to don't become pretty.

Sep 02, 2010

All Tally wants is to be a pretty, but is it really all its cracked up to be?


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