Uglies (Uglies Series #1)

Uglies (Uglies Series #1)

by Scott Westerfeld


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The first installment of Scott Westerfeld’s New York Times bestselling and award-winning Uglies series—a global phenomenon that started the dystopian trend.

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty. And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.

But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty. 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 a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally’s choice will change her world forever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442419810
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: 05/03/2011
Series: Uglies Series , #1
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 1,175
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Scott Westerfeld is the author of the Leviathan series, the first book of which was the winner of the 2010 Locus Award for Best Young Adult Fiction. His other novels include the New York Times bestseller Afterworlds, the worldwide bestselling Uglies series, The Last Days, Peeps, So Yesterday, and the Midnighters trilogy. Visit him at or follow him on Twitter at @ScottWesterfeld.

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide for

by Scott Westerfeld

About the Books

Living in a future where sixteen-year-olds are surgically transformed from "uglies" to "pretties," Tally Youngblood struggles with a choice: to become beautiful and content forever living in a high-tech paradise, or to leave the world she knows and keep her own identity. Tally's decisions lead her on an incredible journey, which forces her to grow, change, and learn.

Set a few years after the end of Specials, Extras follows a new girl, Aya Fuse, in a new town. As Tally did, Aya has some problems being a fifteen-year-old ugly, but this new world is filled with new technologies and new challenges as well. Now the focus of society is on fame. The world is like a gigantic game of American Idol. Whoever is getting the most buzz gets the most votes and the highest rank. Popularity rules. Everyone wants to be famous, and Aya is prepared to do almost anything to bring her face rank up from 451,369, a number so low, she’s a total nobody. An extra. She has no idea what kind of fame she can achieve propelling her into a world of fame, celebrity, and extreme danger.

Discussion Topics

1. On your sixteenth birthday, how would you feel about being forced to have the surgery to become pretty? Would you feel like Tally—looking forward to being beautiful and bubbly—or like Shay—wanting to escape the surgery and stay ugly, but remain herself? If your best friend asked you not to have the surgery, what do you think you would have chosen to do?

2. What elements of the Smoke remind you of a camping trip you've taken or one you've seen on TV or in a movie? What advice would you give the Smokies about living in the wild?

3. Tally has three important guys in her life: Peris, David and Zane. How does her relationship with each of the three affect her decisions at different points in the story? Which of the three do you think made the greatest impact on Tally?

4. Compare Tally's society with our society today. What are the similarities between Dr. Cable's controls and our own government? Just as Tally and her friends were brought up learning about the failure of the Rusties' society, what lessons can be learned from the future portrayed in the series?

5. The author created new worlds, new technology, and new language for the books. Which location—New Pretty Town, the Smoke, or Diego—would you want to make your home? Which of Tally's futuristic possessions—a hoverboard, a sneak suit, SpagBol—would you like to own? What were your favorite slang words in the series?

6. What do you think was the pivotal point in each of the four books? What would you change about them?

7. What are Tally's strongest assets and her tragic flaws? What about Shay? David? Zane?

8. Is Dr. Cable a protagonist or an antagonist? At what points in the series does she seem more good than evil or more evil than good? Does she have the best interests of the people of Pretty Town at heart or is she simply trying to gain power and prestige?

9. If the Uglies series was made into a movie, who would you cast to play the part of Tally? Shay? David? Zane? Peris? Dr. Cable? Where in the world do you think it should be filmed? Who would be the best director for this project?

10. Who was your favorite character in the series? How did you feel about how they ended up at the end of Specials? Which character do you think is the most like you or your friends?

11. Imagine that David decided to live in the city of Diego. What challenges would he face there, having grown up in the wild? What would a day in the life of David in Diego be like? Do you think he'd get used to his new life, or decide to return to his old one?

12. Before reading Extras, where do you see Tally two years after the end of Specials? How about Shay? Peris? What do you think Pretty Town and Diego would be like?

13. If you were suddenly famous like Aya, what would you spend all of your credits on? Would you have moved into Shuffle Mansion?

14. Many of the issues that are current hot topics in our world are tackled within the pages of Extras. Compare the hovercam frenzy and Tally’s obsession with fame to our tabloids and paparazzi and the Lindsay Lohans of the world. What comparisons can be made between our concerns about the environment and Tally’s concerns about the inhumans’ treatment of natural resources?

15. Would you have had the guts to surf on the mag-lev trains like Aya and the Sly Girls? Do you think they were daring or crazy? Would you have gone that far just to find out the Sly Girls’ secrets so you could kick their story?

16. Discuss the relationships in Extras—Aya and Hiro, Aya and Frizz, Aya and the Sly Girls, Aya and Tally—and how they change throughout the course of the book.

17. Who do you relate to more: Tally or Aya? How are the two different and how are they alike? Would you rather be Tally’s friend or Aya’s? Why?

18. How would you feel if your every move was filmed by a hovercam? Would you want to own a Moggle of your own?

19. Would you be willing to try Radical Honesty? Do you think total honesty at all times is possible? How long do you think you would last without lying?

20. List all of the Japanese items and references in Extras. If Scott Westerfeld were to write another book in this series, where should the book be set? Why? What unique qualities of that location would make it an interesting choice?

21. Were you happy with the ending of Extras? If not, how would you have ended it? Which of the books in this series is your favorite? Why?

Research and Activities

1. Design your own hoverboard. First make a blueprint including what kinds of gadgets you would put in its secret compartments, then make a prototype using cardboard, paper towel rolls, markers, etc.

2. Act out a scene from one of the books. Assign parts to each participant and choose your favorite scene—maybe Tally's first trip to New Pretty Town to visit Peris, the invasion of the Smoke by Special Circumstances, or the destruction of the Armory.

3. Put a pretty spin on a sport (think about the suspended ice skating rink in Pretties) and come up with your own bubbly rules and regulations.

4. Put yourself in Dr. Cable's shoes. Take turns telling the Specials story from her point of view and include what you think her motives were behind her actions in the previous two books.

5. Look at the covers of Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras. Then redraw your own version of each of the covers highlighting your favorite scene from each book.

6. Map Aya and Tally’s journey, starting in Tokyo. Use clues you find in Extras to help you determine the route they took.

Customer Reviews

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Uglies (Uglies Series #1) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2313 reviews.
Ishy More than 1 year ago
Honestly, I'm the kind of girl who loves Harry Potter, Star Trek, Star Wars, and anything else fantasy and otherwise. So when I saw the cover of this book and the title, I outwardly laughed at the idiocy! But after much persuasion from my friends and countless begging, I picked it up. I was amazed at the fact that A) This is a Sci-Fi B) It's about false utopias and C) It's good! The story is unique and compelling. The ideas are challenging and thought provoking and, without giving too much away, the relationship junk (my opinions are mine) isn't the main focus, but instead a great add in and is sufficient to those hopeless romantics (which believe it or not, I am). The author, although male, proves to be able to write brilliantly in the teenage girl voice that even many female writers cannot master. I give this book an A+ for the stupendous ability to capture a harsh critic like myself.
bookworm_157 More than 1 year ago
I have read this book and the rest of this series several times. And each time I find or realize something new about the characters or the plot. It keeps you guessing no matter how many times you read it. The basic story is it is set in the future and when you turn 16 you go under the knife and be changed from an ugly to a pretty. This book follows a trouble making uglie's journey before her surgery. Makes new friends and enemies. And not only is this book good but the entire series is good! I reccomend this to anyone in need of a good book to read!!
Amaya713 More than 1 year ago
Whenever I saw this book a while back, I never wanted to read it because the title sounded so preppy and shallow. I would have expected the book to be more of a "girly" book about beauty, boys, etc. etc. However, there's way more to this book that meets the eye.

Once I started reading, I was hooked. This book tells the story about a future world where everyone becomes "pretty" on their sixteenth birthday. It was intriguing to read about such a society that focuses solely on image. It really makes you think about how we see beauty today. So many things had changed from our modern world-- it was interesting to think about.
The plot and characters were also superb. The main character is Tally, an "ugly" who can't wait to turn pretty. But then she meets Shay. Shay is another ugly who isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She opens Tally's eyes to a whole new world, and Tally is thrust headfirst into it. The characters continue to interest you throughout the story and the plot keeps you at the edge of your seat.

Overall, I would wholeheartedly reccommend this book, especially to teen readers. Despite the seemingly superficial title, this book actually has some strong morals and themes. Just goes to show, don't judge a book by it's cover (or title, in this case) ;-)
Kylee-in-CT More than 1 year ago
I originally became aware of this series (Uglies, Pretties, Specials & Extras) because of my daughter. She was 12 at the time and a little young for the books, I thought. Now that I have finally read the start of the series, I think that belief was unfounded. When I hear that a book is categorized as Young Adult I automatically think 14+.

SV, my 14 (almost 15) year old read the first three in the series this past summer. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Tally, Shay David, Croy and all the rest. There world is our world... 300 or so years later. The "ruins" are our cities - crumbled, burned, destroyed. There is a definite message to us, now, in Uglies. We need to stop living like "What I do doesn't matter to anyone but me".

As far as the "operation" that everyone has when they turn 16 (everyone except those that have conviction enough to runaway) that scares me. There is already a belief in this country that it's okay to give your children plastic surgery for a high school graduation gift or even a 16th birthday present. I won't go on about how wrong I think this is.

There is a total cliffhanger ending to Uglies. I am finding it hard to NOT pick up Pretties which is now sitting in my bookcase since I thieved it from my 14 year old daughter's bookcase. =)
Avid_Reader101 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It is awsome! I related to Tally so much. Me being a girl and having to be presurred by super model gorgeuseness. This book helped me realize that if you be who you are nothing can stop you. Stand up for what you believe in and whats right. Tally Youngblood is a smart determined girl to turn pretty.But when one of her friends doesn't want to turn pretty she starts questioning what it will actually mean to be pretty, other than the non-stop fun and parties. I think Tally is a girl to look up to. In the end, Tally makes a decision that does and will change her life forever. Read this book! It keeps people at the edge of there seats! Once i picked it up i couldn't put it down. It is adventures and said 'crap' here and there and had pleasure gardens and kissing but nothing graphic and nothing to into deteail. I recommend for girls ages 10-14. Tally is beautiful at heart.
Annibebe More than 1 year ago
Scott Westerfeld has a brilliant imagination. This book was a page turner and left me wanting more. Thank God there are sequels. I can't wait to see what happens when Tally becomes "pretty"! Highly recommended for teens and adults.
Suzie_Q More than 1 year ago
Scott Westerfeld's novel, Uglies, is about what things could be like after we harm our environment on Earth too much. Don't be fooled thinking this is a book only warning us about global warming, however. Tally Youngblood will soon turn sixteen, the age she's been waiting for her entire life. At the age of sixteen, people finally get to have the operation that will make them pretty. However, she will soon learn from a new friend, Shay, that there are risks no one know about when getting the operation. Below is a quote of Shay and Tally talking about the advantages and disadvantages of getting the operation: "Shay! Come on. it's just for fun." "Making ourselves feel ugly is not fun." "We are ugly!" "This whole game is just designed to make us hate ourselves." Tally groaned and flopped back onto her bed, glaring up at the ceiling. Shay could be so weird sometimes. She always had a chip on her shoulder about the operation, like someone was making her turn sixteen. "Right, and things were so great back when everyone was ugly. or did you miss that day in school?" "Yeah, yeah, I know," Shay recited. "Everyone judged everyone else based on their appearance. People who were taller got better jobs, and people even voted for some politicians just because they weren't quite as ugly as everybody else. Blah, blah, blah." "Yeah, and people killed one another over stuff like having different skin color." Tally shook her head. No matter how many times they repeated it at school, she'd never quite believed that one. "So what if people look more alike now? It's the only way to make people equal." Scott Westerfeld dives into a new world about deception, knowledge, and what true friendship really is. The book is very well done. Westerfeld makes up his own new words like "Rusties" and "Smokies" but he does an excellent job at describing what his new terms are. Uglies will keep you on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what happens next in this adventurous and suspenseful book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book i must say is amazing gives a true idea of its mot always so bright on the other side ; D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great romance, action book for teens. Im 11 and i still love the series. Just finished the third book. The storys get twisted and r just awesome. I highly reccomnd the series!!
chelsey More than 1 year ago
This was a really good book! It was so good i read all the series! It yiu like adventures and thrilling books you'll like this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the free sample and i can't put it down. I have to know whats next. ( :?) Ugly )
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read all the books...... so much better than Twilight.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book Uglies by Scott Westerfeld is a good book,i give it 5/5 stars. I like the fact that Tally goes through betrayals and side changes. The problems Tally faces are realistic,like when she has to chose to go or to stay at the Smoke. This book also has loveable characters, like the wild david. The story begins with the main charicter,Tally, sneaks into New Pretty Town to ser her old freind Peris. She meest a nother ugly Shay there. When Shay runs away a organazation calls Tally in to help find her. She gois to a place called The Smoke and meast David. She is forced to make a decision,stay with David in the smoke or go back to the city and become a pretty. In This book Tlly learns that sometimes o follow your heart,you have to break the rules. This applied to me when m parnest wanted to get rid of my gold fish. When i found out i hid him under my bed for 3 days. When my parents found out i got in trouble. I would recomend this book to people 12- younger people wouldn't understand, and older people wouldn't care about this book. This book has plenty of action,like when Tally and the smoke is atacked my the specals. This book also has some romance, like when Tally and David kiss. In conclution thid book has a ending that will leave you breathless.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello. I'm back! I'm that 13 year old girl a while back that said she wasn't sure about the book. Well guess what? IT WAS AWESOME!!! It really brought me into the story. Very well written. I will warn you though, the beginning is a bit slow, but that is only to get you to know the characters better. So don't be put down trust me, you will want to keep reading! Oh! If you're wondering about my independant book project... I GOT AN A- !!! WHOO- HOOO! XD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so amazing. Evertime i finish it, i re- read it. BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to read this book for a reading class and it is really good so far.
Algonquins More than 1 year ago
I put off reading Uglies for the longest time because I thought the plot of the book sounded completely stupid. I couldn't have been more wrong however because I couldn't put it down from the moment I started reading. This was a book I seriously misjudged. It had a lot more depth than I thought it would. The characters were very dynamic with a lot of personality and Scott Westerfeld kept the story moving with a lot of fun and exciting fast paced action and he had some great descriptions of the "Pretty Procedure" that grabbed me as well. Uglies is a dystopian novel that is a little bit different from all the other ones on the market. It's not about a war-torn society trying to rebuild. It's about taking down a society that is perfectly happy and idyllic. Westerfeld has created a world that is absolutely perfect and with some really great writing created a heroine who sets out to deconstruct it. This book is definitely worth a read, it's a great story that is a lot of fun and also scary at times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My power went out one day so i decided to go to the library and pick book to read. Well i ended uo choosing uglies and im sooooooooo glad i did. I read it in less than one day and it was absolutely amazing and suspenseful. The whole trilogy was great. I recommend this for people who like books such as matched, the giver, the hunger games and maze runner. Its definintly a distopian society book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely amazing series!!!  No really, the Uglies trilogy is my favorite. Better than the hunger games. Or at least on par with it. It sounds kind of stupid at first but is so amaing when you actually read it. I mean I'm not some teenager- I'm 25- and I love this story. Its very thought provoking, the relationships are real, and its not hard to imagine our world falling apart from our own greed. The points they make about racism and the way we treat people by what they look like is very true. As well as the pollution  and wastfulness we all contribute to. This book makes a powerful message without really meaning to. Plus its very Sci Fi and unlike most dysotopian books which have the new world in ruins, this one is very high tech and advanced. Totally intriguing. All around amazing. Loved it!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This great book has action, drama, romance, suspense, twists and turns that will leave you hanging to that slight ledge the author gives you. The most amazing book i've read in a long time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This topic was unique. It wasn't over used. I haven't heard the same story line a million times. What other book have you read that people live in a society when they turn sixteen they become pretty and until they don't even matter to the rest of society? Exactly, none!
Norma-J More than 1 year ago
I bought this aas a gift for a teen, but dipped into it, and HAD to finish reading!
littlemonkey18 More than 1 year ago
THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!!! It is well written and is one of the best science fiction i have ever read!! It is exciting and very very good!!! It is about how being ugly isn't always bad just like being pretty isn't always good!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
... There are no words to say ...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First of all, from the cover to the name I defienetly thought this would be just some high school drama so I laughed and put the book back. But after seeing how popular it got, this couldn't be drama. So I picked it up and took a risk to this new series. Oh wow! Amazing how much action and detail there is! I love action and romance and this book has it. If you like divergent or hunger games or harry potter then you'll love this book. Its the perfect distopia book and you will fall in love with the characters. Tally alsohas some personal choices that lefts me dumb founded on what I would choose. Being rich, pretty, and luxorious but having no mind or freedom or being ugly, camping, always hiding but being free and smart. Lots of stars on this book and the whole series!