Uglies is a young adult dystopian novel. At one point, the world decided that the best way to end discrimination based on looks/age/race/etc was to make everyone pretty. Biologically pretty, with symmetrical features and cheekbones in the right place and wide eyes and fresh, unblemished skin. They perfected an operation which, when performed at age 16, will make everyone supermodel gorgeous. The Uglies – kids between ages 12 and 16 – long for their operation, after which they’ll stop being known by their Ugly nicknames (squint, fatty, zits, pignose…) and move to New Pretty Town, where their only job will be to have a good time.
Tally can’t wait to become a Pretty. Tally loves New Pretty Town, and all her friends have already gone on to be Pretty. In her last few months of waiting, though, Tally befriends a girl named Shay. Shay doesn’t want to be Pretty, and before her birthday, she runs away to a secret non-Pretty society called the Smoke. Tally promises not to tell, but is then confronted with an ultimatum: help the government find this secret society, or stay an Ugly for the rest of her life.
This book is beautifully written, and I can’t wait to read the others to see what happens next. It also is a very thoughtful book, and really ponders the definition of equality, the question of where beauty lies, and what humanity must do to save itself from its own folly. Highly recommended.