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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
10,987595371 (3.94)499
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
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (TheBentley)
  4. 70
    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.
  5. 60
    The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (goodiegoodie)
  6. 60
    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.
  7. 50
    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. 50
    Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien (PamFamilyLibrary)
    PamFamilyLibrary: An intelligent, quickly paced YA dystopia.
  9. 61
    Pretties by Scott Westerfeld (ysar)
  10. 51
    Specials by Scott Westerfeld (ysar)
  11. 51
    Skinned by Robin Wasserman (Phantasma)
  12. 20
    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
    The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (Anonymous user)
  14. 20
    Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (clif_hiker)
  15. 10
    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. 21
    Feed by M. T. Anderson (jbarry, liberlibri)
  17. 10
    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)
  18. 00
    The Office of Mercy by Ariel Djanikian (sturlington)
  19. 00
    Beta by Rachel Cohn (Aleana)
  20. 11
    XVI by Julia Karr (JoriPie)
    JoriPie: Similar Plots

(see all 32 recommendations)


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» See also 499 mentions

English (586)  Swedish (3)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (594)
Showing 1-5 of 586 (next | show all)
Dystopian YA. In a society where beauty is valued above all else, young people eagerly await their 16th birthday and an operation that will make them ‘pretty’ and allow them to join a higher level of society. Except that not everyone wants to change, which becomes a problem for Tally when her friend Shay runs away to The Smoke, a community of renegade Uglies. The powers that be refuse to give Tally her operation until she finds her way to the Smoke and brings her friend - and all the other rebels - home.

There are a lot of good themes in this book. Friendship and betrayal. Beauty standards and the impossibility of perfection. Standing for what is right in the face of systemic wrong. In general, I enjoyed the read and watching these themes come out in the plot.

Buuuut. The world building felt weak. I’m still not clear who is making this world function. It drove me nuts that everything was -ies - uglies, pretties, littlies, smokies, rusties - a minor point that made the book feel like it was written for a younger audience than the story feels appropriate for. And I hated HATED the ending. Without giving too much away, I felt like the ending was the exact opposite of the message it was trying to present. ( )
  Wordbrarian | Mar 5, 2019 |
Took me a while to get into it but I enjoyed it, will definitely read the next one ( )
  perksofbeingpeculiar | Jan 17, 2019 |
An excellent dystopian tale of choice, trust, and weeds.

The Writing and Worldbuilding

While the writing style wasn't my absolute favorite, it was engaging and managed to make the slower parts of the book not so boring as they had the potential to be. The dialogue felt a bit 2005, but the book was published then, so I can't really hold that against it. I was particularly fond of the motifs and themes of the book, my favorite being the beautiful flowers that are invasive weeds literally choking out all other life, and ultimately even themselves.

The flowers were so beautiful, so delicate and unthreatening, but they choked everything around them.
The premise sounded somewhat far-fetched at first, but it is executed so well that by the end, I could really see this as a possible future, which was frightening. The technology was well explained and plausible (at least to me, but I'm no scientist).

What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful.
The Characters

Tally: She was really consistent, yet still grew a lot, which I really liked. She stayed true to her fundamental person—a person of action, but also thought—and also learned to let go of some of her faults—indecision, selfishness, and even self-consciousness. And me of all people actually liking a female protagonist is really something.

Shay: I loved Shay. She is fun and spunky, and somewhat of a tomboy, but still maintaining some girlish charm.

Doing what you're supposed to do is always boring. I can't imagine anything worse than being required to have fun.
David: Despite being a tad insta-love-y, David was also really great! His insta-love had actual believable reasons, and he was just such a sweet guy!

Dr. Cable: Specials in general are pretty freaky, but this one in particular was super creepy.


It definitely wasn't my favorite book ever, but I did really like it, and actually really brought back some appreciation for YA that had been dying in me, so I'm really glad I read it, and I would definitely recommend it. And besides all that, my older sister has been trying to get me to read this series since like 2010, so it was surely time. ( )
  Faith_Murri | Jan 5, 2019 |
I've had this book and the others in the series sitting on my shelves for months now. I read one great review, went out and purchased them; then I started seeing a lot of mixed reviews.
Granted, the story starts out slow, can be totally confusing with some of the words used; but overall I believe this is a great story. As a mother of a soon to be teen (9), I am constantly trying to get her to understand that she doesn't have to look like everyone else to be pretty; the Uglies touches on just about the same thing.
With Tally only counting the days till she can be a Pretty along with her friend Peris, and Shay wanting nothing more than to stay an Uglie, the lines are drawn. When Shay took off, I just knew that something was going to happen to Tally to make it to where she wouldn't get to be Pretty.
I can't say too much more without giving the story away, but the trip to the Smoke was a wild one and I can't wait to read the next book to find out if David still cares. ( )
  chaoticbooklover | Dec 26, 2018 |
I've not read much young adult fiction, so I wasn't sure what to expect going in. I liked Uglies a good deal. Westerfeld does a nice job of using pretty standard plot structures and characters to make something that feels fresh. His prose gets a little melodramatic at points, but I'm guessing that's to ratchet up tension? There's some interesting thematic things going on too. Overall, well-written and interesting. I'm excited to read the next one. ( )
  wordsampersand | Dec 6, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 586 (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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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

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.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0689865384, Paperback)

Playing on every teen’s passionate desire to look as good as everybody else, Scott Westerfeld (Midnighters) projects a future world in which a compulsory operation at sixteen wipes out physical differences and makes everyone pretty by conforming to an ideal standard of beauty. The "New Pretties" are then free to play and party, while the younger "Uglies" look on enviously and spend the time before their own transformations in plotting mischievous tricks against their elders. Tally Youngblood is one of the most daring of the Uglies, and her imaginative tricks have gotten her in trouble with the menacing department of Special Circumstances. She has yearned to be pretty, but since her best friend Shay ran away to the rumored rebel settlement of recalcitrant Uglies called The Smoke, Tally has been troubled. The authorities give her an impossible choice: either she follows Shay’s cryptic directions to The Smoke with the purpose of betraying the rebels, or she will never be allowed to become pretty. Hoping to rescue Shay, Tally sets off on the dangerous journey as a spy. But after finally reaching The Smoke she has a change of heart when her new lover David reveals to her the sinister secret behind becoming pretty. The fast-moving story is enlivened by many action sequences in the style of videogames, using intriguing inventions like hoverboards that use the rider’s skateboard skills to skim through the air, and bungee jackets that make wild downward plunges survivable -- and fun. Behind all the commotion is the disturbing vision of our own society -- the Rusties -- visible only in rusting ruins after a virus destroyed all petroleum. Teens will be entranced, and the cliffhanger ending will leave them gasping for the sequel. (Ages 12 and up) --Patty Campbell

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:03 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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