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Uglies (The Uglies) by Scott Westerfeld
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Uglies (The Uglies) (edition 2011)

by Scott Westerfeld

Series: Uglies (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,398541313 (3.96)479
Member:auroraerin
Title:Uglies (The Uglies)
Authors:Scott Westerfeld
Info:Simon Pulse (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

  1. 332
    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. 190
    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. 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.
  5. 60
    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.
  6. 50
    The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (goodiegoodie)
  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. 41
    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 31 recommendations)

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» See also 479 mentions

English (534)  Swedish (3)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (542)
Showing 1-5 of 534 (next | show all)
I liked Westerfeld's writing style a lot, enough that I'd like to pick up one of his non-YA SF novels. And I liked this book. However, I would have liked it better if I were around 11 or 12. It reminded me a bit of some of HM Hoover's kids books.
Around 200 years in the future, an apocalypse has occurred (of the non-specified variety). Population has been drastically reduced, and people now live in small, enclosed cities and are told shocking stories of how people in the past lived a destructive, non-environmental lifestyle. (They cut down trees!). Society is rigidly stratified. Young people look forward in anticipation to the day of their Operation - a drastic plastic surgery that will make them beautiful. Until then, they call each other Uglies, insult each other, and dream about how they'll look after that day. After that, of course, they become Pretties, and live in Pretty Town, where they don't associate with Uglies, but live a life of fabulous parties and non-stop fun. In middle age, people settle down and raise children, and then get gracefully old, with more surgeries and life prolongation treatments.
It doesn't sound so bad!
Which, I think, is why Westerfeld had to change the whole hypothesis halfway through the book.
It's impossible to mention this without spoilers - but it's also the main problem with the book. The book is advertised, and it seems like it started out, being about our ideas of attractiveness and individuality, and the importance many people place on their body image. The Ugly/Pretty society depends on the idea that the reason for the surgeries is that uniform beauty (along with a size-controlled population) eliminates racism and prejudice, and allows people to live in harmony.
However, it's discovered that there's a dirty secret - it's discovered that, along with the cosmetic surgeries, the Powers That Be are also giving people a brain surgery to make people happy, non-violent, carefree (and ditzy).
Yep, that's a lot more scary. But it also pretty much nullifies anything that Westerfeld might hve been trying to say about uniform prettiness maybe not being such a good thing. He fails to make that case, and instead brings up a whole other case. And it's not that hard to argue that brain surgery, performed on subjects without their knowledge or consent, to make them easy to manage, is Not A Great Thing.
The other problem I had with the book is a plot thing. The story centers around two friends. One runs away to a group living outside the city, composed of people who haven't had the operation. Special Circumstances, a secret-police force, sends the other one in a spy to find and allow them to eliminate the group, blackmailing the girl with the threat of not being allowed to have The Operation if she fails. However, on the way to find the secret group, the girl encounters a group of environmental rangers from another city, who know about the group, have no desire to eliminate it, and specifically tell her that if life there doesn't work out for her, she could join them in their city and become a ranger herself. So the power of that blackmail should have been effectively eliminated - but it's not even mentioned. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Booktalk: In our society, pretty people get everything and ugly people get nothing. How fair is that? Wouldn't it be more fair and equal if all the ugly people had an operation to be made pretty? That way, everyone would be equal and their lives would be happy all the time. Right now, Tally is an ugly. She can't wait until she turns 16. That's the age when an ugly gets the operation to become pretty. Her best friend Peris has already gotten the operation and moved to New Pretty Town, and Tally really misses him. She can't wait until she's pretty, too, so they can hang out together again. Because in this world, the pretties never hang out with the uglies. Tally is pretty lonely waiting for her 16th birthday, just a few weeks to go. Then she meets Shay, another girl who's about to turn 16. But Shay isn't looking forward to her operation. In fact, she plans to stay ugly and run away to the Smoke, a secret society of runaways who decided they didn't want the pretty operation. Tally is shocked that Shay doesn't want to be pretty...who wouldn't want to be pretty?! Still Tally and Shay have become tight friends in the few weeks since they met. Now Shay is announcing that she's running away today. And she's inviting Tally to go with her.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
  MisaBookworm | Feb 2, 2016 |
Very interesting. I like the amount of action involved. The chracters are well-developped and intelligent. ( )
  babydogfish | Jan 29, 2016 |
This book was pretty good, but I had a hard time liking the MC!

( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 534 (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 (5 possible)

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

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

- Yang Yuan, quoted in The New York Times
Dedication
First words
The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit.
Quotations
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
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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)

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