Tally lives in a post-apocalypse society where everyone has plastic surgery to make them pretty and homogeneous within their city. Tally comes to a point of personal crisis when her best friend runs away and she also chooses to run away to find the Rusties, who are all that remain outside the boundary of society. She is both horrified and attracted to the Rusties way of living and their physical appearance. While there she learns that the surgery not only changes the physical appearance of the people, but also affects their brain function so they will be easy to control. Tally has been manipulated by the powerful forces within the government to betray the Rusties. Her inadvertent betrayal of the Rusties precipitates a whole new set of problems for the next book.
Adult Point of View
Uglies should be read by every teen girl. It is incredibly disturbing and I was uncomfortable the entire time reading the Uglies, yet, it had so much value for teens today. We need to question what is beauty and recognize that even our unique physical appearance tells a story of who we are. It is important to recognize the angst that teens have to fit in and how dangerous it is to not be yourself. Tally was a particularly well thought out character because she is complex in her internal struggles, neither completely good nor bad. Uglies was a great starting point for a thought provoking conversation with my teen. It was appropriate for 13 and up.
As a strong warning, the next two books in the trilogy, Pretties and Specials, had very strong themes. I only let my young teen read them after I had edited out the material I did not want her to read, such as, self-mutilation by cutting. Pretties and Specials are appropriate unedited for upper high school age.
4 stars out of 5
– the Mother
Teen Point of View
I liked this book a lot. It was very unique and creative. I like every bit of it. It has a lot of action and romance. You can see the characters as they struggle with their problems. The Uglies is great; it encourages girls that it is their real self that is beautiful. This book really yells, “Be your self!” I think that all teen girls should read this. I enjoyed it and hope everyone else does too.
– the Daughter