Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies #1

Tally Youngblood is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait for the operation that turns everyone from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to party. But new friend Shay would rather hoverboard to "the Smoke" and be free. Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn't very pretty. The "Special Circumstances" authority Dr Cable offers 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.

I really enjoyed Uglies. It's very well written and captivating and Tally's inner turmoil and frustrations are very relate-able.

I love how distinctly different the uglies and pretties are portrayed. It's such a different setup from the usual dystopian plots. The Barbie dolls on the cover of this version is so spot on. Uglies - regular looking, ordinary people - believe they look ugly, because the Pretties - 16 year old changed into "perfection" using plastic surgery, who party day and night) outshine them totally, before ageing enough to become Middle Pretties (surgery again, to become slightly more ordinary, but still pretty). Then adding into the mix those from the Smoke - it's interesting stuff, both psychological and philosophical.

The ending was frustrating as it's a pure cliffhanger, there's no ending, no wrap up - just pure: to be continued... The second book is therefore a future must-read; it will be interesting to see if Westfeld can keep up the writing, the universe and the strength of the characters.

Uglies is the first in the Uglies series followed by Pretties (#2), Specials (#3) and Extras (#4).

425 pages / published in 2005
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012


  1. I've heard mixed reviews about this book but I'm really curious about it. I love that theres no race distinction. Just Uglies and Pretties. That's really cool.

    1. Thank you for pointing that out, I really loved that aspect of it too :)

      I don't think it's exactly revolutionary but it's definitely one of the better dystopian novels I've read.


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