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Uglies (Uglies Trilogy, Book 1) by Scott…

Uglies (Uglies Trilogy, Book 1) (edition 2005)

by Scott Westerfeld

Series: Uglies (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,707612372 (3.92)508
Just before their sixteenth birthdays, when they will will be transformed into beauties whose only job is to have a great time, Tally's best friend runs away and Tally must find her and turn her in, or never become pretty at all.
Title:Uglies (Uglies Trilogy, Book 1)
Authors:Scott Westerfeld
Info:Simon Pulse (2005), Paperback
Collections:Your library

Work details

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

  1. 342
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (elephantshoe, liberlibri, electronicmemory)
    elephantshoe: futuristic world again, but the teens have to compete and fight to the death in a televised reality show.
  2. 210
    The Giver by Lois Lowry (KamTonnes)
    KamTonnes: Uglies and The Giver both portray societies that limit conflict by having very specific rules, roles, and expectations for everyone. Also, in both stories, the main characters slowly start to question the values of their respective communities.
  3. 80
    Matched by Ally Condie (kqueue)
    kqueue: Another story about a 'perfect' society that is deeply flawed once you look beneath the surface. Both feature strong heroines who fight against the powers in control, and both have themes of independence and free will.
  4. 80
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (TheBentley)
  5. 70
    Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder (flemmily)
    flemmily: Very similar heroines in similarly closed-off, oppressive worlds. Similar emphasis on an unknown "outside." Similar environmental emphasis, although Westerfeld focuses more on nature, whereas Snyder deals more with issues of population control.
  6. 60
    Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien (PamFamilyLibrary)
    PamFamilyLibrary: An intelligent, quickly paced YA dystopia.
  7. 60
    Delirium by Lauren Oliver (LauraT81, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    LauraT81: Very similar dystopian societies where an operation is meant to subdue the members.
    BookshelfMonstrosity: In these intense dystopian novels, teenage girls start to question the life-changing operation their oppressive government mandates for teens. Both girls redefine their values and grapple with the possibility of escaping to a rebellious colony in the wilderness.… (more)
  8. 71
    Pretties by Scott Westerfeld (ysar)
  9. 60
    The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (goodiegoodie)
  10. 61
    Specials by Scott Westerfeld (ysar)
  11. 51
    Skinned by Robin Wasserman (Phantasma)
  12. 30
    The White Mountains by John Christopher (KingRat)
    KingRat: The White Mountains contains issues similar to those of Uglies: secret control of a society, "mind control", induction into that society, and rebellion against it while pretending to be a member. There are obvious major differences too. Still, enough similarities in style and substance that I suspect people who enjoy one will enjoy the other.… (more)
  13. 20
    Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (clif_hiker)
  14. 20
    The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman (2Mu)
    2Mu: Similar theme: A girl lives in a brainwashing, conformist society. A group of rebels knows the truth and is trying to break the control of those in power. The girl must choose between what she's been raised to think and the people she cares about/what she knows to be true.… (more)
  15. 20
    Gamers by Thomas K. Carpenter (terriko)
    terriko: Great teen fiction! Gamers posits a world where everyone competes using games to define their future, while Uglies posits a world where everyone becomes pretty at 16. While these are pretty different worlds, both books chronicle stories of heroines not going quite where their society expects them to go...… (more)
  16. 20
    The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (Anonymous user)
  17. 21
    XVI by Julia Karr (JoriPie)
    JoriPie: Similar Plots
  18. 10
    Divergent by Veronica Roth (reconditereader, LAKobow)
    reconditereader: Young adults seize control in a dystopian society
  19. 21
    Extras by Scott Westerfeld (ysar)
  20. 21
    Feed by M. T. Anderson (jbarry, liberlibri)

(see all 32 recommendations)


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» See also 508 mentions

English (603)  Swedish (3)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (611)
Showing 1-5 of 603 (next | show all)
I've seen a lot of discussion of this book on Goodreads over the years, so when a copy finally turned up at my local library, I thought it was about time I tried it for myself. Ultimately, I enjoyed the read, but came away from it feeling like Uglies could have been so much more than it actually was.

As a premise for a YA novel, it's a good one. The focus on appearance, to the detriment of everything else, is particularly relevant to the teenage age group. There's something immediately uncomfortable about a world that strives towards homogenisation instead of the acceptance and promotion of diversity, and Westerfeld does a good job of depicting his dystopian world.

However, most other aspects of the book do not prove as interesting as its premise. The characters are mostly one-dimensional and Tally seems to me to be a particularly uninspiring protagonist. I understand Westerfeld's difficulty here. Tally has been brought up in a society that forms its children into acutely shallow beings, and her thoughts and actions are an immediate by-product of this life-long indoctrination. As a character, therefore, she is true to her world. But this authenticity proved to be a barrier to me. I disliked her weakness, her gullibility and her deceptiveness. I found myself wanting her to fail.

For me, the most interesting and likeable character was Shay – but only in the beginning. From Part Two onwards, her relationship with Tally warps into one of feminine rivalry, with a boy in the centre (of course). I, for one, am tiring of endlessly being told by books (and films and television) that women are in competition with each other. I am hoping that something comes of this plot point in later books, because otherwise it's just hackneyed and destructive.

My other big issue with Uglies is the fact that Westerfeld focusses almost entirely upon physical differences. There is a brief mention of race, but no talk of culture. How do the many religions fit into his world? What about disability? Homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexualism? It's almost as though his world picture is unfinished. Not having read the rest of the books in the series, I'm hoping that these questions are dealt with in later books but, judging Uglies on its own merits, it felt like there were a few gaps that negatively affected my reading experience.

All that said, I did enjoy this book. It's a fast-paced read, with a fun concept, plenty of adventure and a cliff-hanger ending that had me ordering the next book into my local library right away. I'm just harsh because it could have been incredible, but instead it was just a lot of fun. Four stars minus.
( )
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
This wasn't awful, but I am clearly not the targeted demographic. The "lesson" is really obvious from square one which makes the end-game pretty easy to guess. Though I will admit how they got to that end game deviated from my expectations a bit. I really should have read this in high school, but I'm glad it's finally off my "to-read" list. ( )
  Hilaurious | Jun 2, 2020 |
This is a book that I read and adored when I was 13, and rereading it now, my opinion didn't change very much.

You can probably read the blurb for yourself, but it encompasses a lot of themes that I find really interesting - there's a dystopian, futuristic society, there's a bunch of rebellious youths struggling to create a new kind of society, and there's creepy stuff around brain surgery changing the way people think, making them placid and happy all the time. The first time I read the book, the first few chapters seemed kind of boring, but they establish the setting of the book efficiently and it's not like they're hard to read, so you can race through them and get to the good bit soon enough.

The novel can certainly seem a bit heavy-handed - the words "ugly" and "pretty" are used so many times that they can start to seem like they're not even real words, and there are quite a few tangents (whether spouted by a character in dialogue, or as a monologue from narrator Tally's own head) about the absurdity of judging people by their looks, how this leads to societal problems like anorexia or discrimination against ugly people or just everyone feeling really miserable in their own skins all the time. This is all true but I think the book overdoes its denunciations a bit - no one consciously thinks this obsession with appearance is a good thing, after all.

Overall though, the plot is good, the setting is fascinating, and towards the end of this book and, I think, in the other two of the trilogy, there's some stuff that comes up to make you pause and think. It's not a five-star book for the reasons I've outlined, but I love it deeply nonetheless. ( )
  Jayeless | May 27, 2020 |
In a future, post-apocalyptic world, you’re either “ugly” or, after a government-sanctioned operation, “pretty.” That status is your whole life. Tally can’t wait, until her best friend runs away. This sci-fi thriller has futuristic tech, betrayals, & a creepy government.
  mcmlsbookbutler | May 14, 2020 |
Uglies was an enjoyable read. I liked the way that the author challenges our concepts of what is "ugly" and what is "pretty." It was fun and entertaining and I can't wait to read the next book in the series. I sure hope it's in at the library tonight when I get there! ( )
  melrailey | Apr 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 603 (next | show all)
The Uglies books are the perfect parables of adolescent life, where adult-imposed milestones, rituals, and divide-and-rule tactics amp children's natural adolescent insecurities into a full-blown, decade-long psychosis.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Jan 1, 2006)

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Scott Westerfeldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Corral, RodrigoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jaskoll, YaffaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montbertrand, CarineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pelleteri, CarissaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Part I: Turning Pretty

Is it not good to make society full of beautiful people?

- Yang Yuan, quoted in The New York Times
First words
The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit.
Part II: The Smoke

There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion."

- Francis Bacon, Essays, Civil and Moral, "Of Beauty"
Part III: Into the Fire

Beauty is that Medusa's head

Which men go armed to seek and sever.

It is most deadly when most dead,

And dead will stare and sting forever.

- Archibald MacLeish, "Beauty"
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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.
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