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“Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies is a science fiction novel by Scott Westerfeld, first published in 2005. It’s the first book in a series that follows the adventures of Tally Youngblood, as she navigates the challenges of growing up in a futuristic society.

The book has been praised for its imaginative world-building, compelling plot, and thought-provoking themes.

Plot Summary

Uglies takes place in a future world where the government has declared that everyone must undergo an operation at the age of sixteen to become “pretty.”

Tally Youngblood is excited to go through the operation and become pretty like her friends, but when her best friend Shay runs away to join a group of rebels known as the Smokies, Tally must decide whether to stay and be pretty, or join the Smokies and remain “ugly.”

Tally’s decision leads her on a thrilling adventure, filled with danger and suspense.


Uglies is populated with an array of interesting characters. Tally is a strong-willed, determined protagonist who is willing to take risks to achieve her goals. Shay is her loyal best friend who challenges the status quo and encourages Tally to think for herself.

Other characters include Tally’s parents, her crush David, and the mysterious Dr. Cable, who is determined to catch the Smokies and punish them for their defiance.


Uglies explores a variety of themes, including conformity, rebellion, friendship, and self-discovery. The novel raises questions about the power of governments and the importance of free will.

It also examines the effects of technology and how it can be used to control people.


Scott Westerfeld has created an immersive world that is filled with exciting details. The story is set in a future world where people undergo extreme plastic surgery to become “pretty,” and where the government has control over the population.

The world is further explored through Tally’s encounters with the Smokies, who live in the wild and use advanced technology to stay hidden from the authorities.


Uglies is an exciting science fiction novel that explores timely themes and asks thought-provoking questions. With its imaginative world-building and compelling characters, it’s a must-read for fans of the genre.

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