‘Fast paced, exciting and thought-provoking.’ The Bookseller's Choice
‘Superb sci-fi.’ Amanda Craig, The Times Supplement
‘Westerfeld introduces thought-provoking issues’ Publishers Weekly
Tally lives in a world where your sixteenth birthday brings aesthetic perfection: an operation which erases all your flaws, transforming you from an 'Ugly' into a 'Pretty'. She is on the eve of this important event, and cannot wait for her life to change. As well as guaranteeing supermodel looks, life as a Pretty seems to revolve around having a good time. But then she meets Shay, who is also fifteen - but with a very different outlook on life. Shay isn't sure she wants to be Pretty and plans to escape to a community in the forest - the Rusty Ruins - where Uglies go to escape ' turning'. Tally won't be persuaded to join her, as this would involve sacrificing everything she's ever wanted for a lot of uncertainty.
When she is taken in for questioning on her birthday, however, Tally gets sent to the Ruins anyway - against her will. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she could ever imagine: find her friend Shay and turn her in, or never turn Pretty at all. What she discovers in the Ruins reveals that there is nothing 'pretty' about the transformations... And the choice Tally makes will change her world forever.
‘The longing for fairy-tale beauty has never looked so sinister’ Amanda Craig, The Times
‘With a beginning and ending that pack hefty punches, this introduction to a dystopic future promises an exciting series.’ Kirkus *starred review*
‘Naughty children, from Max in Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, to Tally in Scott Westerfeld's Uglies trilogy, have the imagination and energy to go beyond convention.’ The Times
‘This exciting story makes you realise how important it is not to judge people by appearances.’ Newcastle Upon Tyne Journal
‘This book is a real thrill-ride and the world utterly convincing.’ Trashionista.com
'Fun, and the many by-the-skin-of-your-teeth escapes and hoverboard chases, plus the non-stop action plotting were enough to catch my attention and have me eagerly wanting more.’ The Book Smugglers
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Tally is a few months shy of her 16th birthday, when she’ll finally be able to leave her stifling dorm room in Uglyville to undergo a series of radical operations—and join her flawless peers living it up in New Pretty Town. Scott Westerfeld kicks off his Uglies trilogy with a fast-paced story that draws you into the lore of a future world where nature is eschewed and people are stretched, sculpted and perfected to fit a normative ideal. As Tally slowly uncovers the true cost of this physical perfection, she’s drawn into a fierce battle to protect that which is still wild and untamed—and those who cling fiercely to their individuality.
In this launch title of a planned trilogy, teenager Tally Youngblood is living an unexamined life in a world unlike ours, hundreds of years from now. She's impatiently awaiting her birthday because in her town, Uglyville, everybody gets the same gift at age 16: cosmetic surgery which transforms them into gorgeous creatures. They also move into "party towers" in New Pretty Town. Tally's best friend has already made the transition and, motivated by her desire to see him, she sneaks into town. Her near-capture leads to a new best friend, Shay, who has the same birthday. On the eve of their operations, Shay reveals a plan to escape to a renegade settlement called "the Smoke." When Shay disappears, government agents blackmail Tally into leading them to the rebels. Once in the Smoke, Tally has a crisis of conscience when she learns the surgery is more sinister than she imagined. Teens will appreciate the gadgetry including bungee jackets and hoverboards that work by magnetic levitation. But plausibility problems creep in, such as Tally leading a breakout of Smokeys from a high-tech compound while wearing handcuffs. As in his So Yesterday, Westerfeld introduces thought-provoking issues, but readers may lose track of the plot while sorting the many messages about how the "Rusties" nearly destroyed the planet. They may also feel cheated when, after 400-plus pages, the ending leaves loose ends to be tied up in the next installment, Pretties. Ages 12-up.