Uglies Book Summary, Characters and Review, Scott Westerfeld


What is the summary of the book Uglies written by Scott Westerfeld? Information about the summary, characters and analysis of Uglies.



“Uglies” is a young adult dystopian novel written by Scott Westerfeld. It is the first book in the Uglies series, followed by “Pretties,” “Specials,” and “Extras.” The story is set in a future society where everyone undergoes a transformative surgery at the age of 16 to become physically attractive, referred to as “pretties.” The protagonist, Tally Youngblood, eagerly awaits her upcoming operation but soon discovers a group of rebels who challenge the conformity and restrictions of their society.

The central theme of the book revolves around the concept of beauty, identity, and the dangers of a superficial society. It explores the pressure to conform to societal standards of physical attractiveness and the sacrifices individuals may make to fit in. Through Tally’s journey, the novel raises questions about the price of beauty and the true meaning of freedom.

As the series progresses, it delves deeper into themes of individuality, rebellion, and the consequences of unchecked power. It examines the societal implications of control and manipulation, highlighting the importance of personal agency and the pursuit of one’s authentic self.


“Uglies” presents a thought-provoking narrative that appeals to young adult readers, addressing issues of self-acceptance, societal norms, and the value of inner beauty. It combines elements of adventure, romance, and dystopian fiction to create a captivating and engaging story.

Book Summary

In a future society, “Uglies” follows the story of Tally Youngblood, a 15-year-old girl eagerly awaiting her 16th birthday when she will undergo a transformative surgery to become a “pretty.” In this society, everyone receives the surgery to conform to a standard of physical beauty and live in a city called New Pretty Town.

Tally’s best friend, Peris, has already undergone the operation and moved to New Pretty Town. While Tally anxiously waits for her turn, she befriends a girl named Shay, who is skeptical of the operation and the ideals of their society. Shay introduces Tally to a group called the Smokies, a rebel faction living outside the city.

The Smokies reject the notion of becoming pretty and encourage Tally to join them. Intrigued by their alternative way of life, Tally starts to question the principles she has grown up with. Shay reveals that she plans to escape to a hidden community called the Smoke, where people live without the pressure of conformity.

Tally, torn between her loyalty to her friend and her desire to become pretty, secretly reports Shay’s plan to the authorities in hopes of ensuring her own operation. In response, Special Circumstances, a powerful division of the government, gives Tally a choice: betray her new friends and help locate the Smoke, or never become pretty.

Reluctantly, Tally agrees to cooperate and is provided with advanced technology and tracking devices to find the Smoke. She follows the clues and eventually locates the hidden community. However, upon her arrival, Tally discovers that the Smoke is a peaceful society that values individuality and rejects the notion of becoming pretty.

As Tally spends time in the Smoke, she develops feelings for a member named David, who teaches her about the dangers of the pretty operation. She learns that the surgery not only alters physical appearance but also affects people’s minds, suppressing individuality and critical thinking.


Tally realizes the importance of individual freedom and decides to help the Smokies in their fight against the oppressive society. Together, they plan to expose the truth about the pretty operation and overthrow the government’s control.

In the thrilling climax, Tally and the Smokies launch a daring operation to infiltrate the city and disrupt the brain-modifying technology used during the pretty surgery. They succeed in disabling the mind-altering devices, causing chaos and awakening people’s true selves.

In the aftermath, Tally reunites with Shay, who forgives her for betraying the Smoke. Together, they vow to continue their fight for individuality and freedom. The book ends with Tally making a difficult choice that sets the stage for the subsequent books in the series.

“Uglies” presents a captivating and thought-provoking exploration of identity, beauty, conformity, and personal agency. It takes readers on an exhilarating journey through a dystopian world where the struggle for self-discovery and rebellion against societal norms becomes paramount.


Here are some of the key characters in “Uglies”:

  • Tally Youngblood: The protagonist of the story, Tally is a 15-year-old girl excited about becoming a “pretty.” However, her encounter with the Smokies and her growing doubts about the operation lead her to question the society she lives in.
  • Shay: Shay is a fellow teenager who becomes Tally’s friend and introduces her to the Smokies. She is rebellious and skeptical of the pretty operation, seeking a life outside the confines of societal expectations.
  • David: A member of the Smoke, David captures Tally’s attention and becomes her love interest. He is knowledgeable about the risks and consequences of the pretty operation and guides Tally in her journey of self-discovery.
  • Peris: Tally’s childhood best friend, Peris has already undergone the pretty operation and moved to New Pretty Town. While their friendship remains important to Tally, Peris symbolizes the lure and pressures of conformity.
  • Dr. Cable: Dr. Cable is a powerful figure and the head of Special Circumstances, a division of the government. She manipulates Tally into assisting them in locating the Smoke and represents the oppressive control of the society.
  • Maddy: Maddy is one of the leaders of the Smoke and plays a significant role in Tally’s transformation. She is a respected scientist and helps Tally understand the dangers of the pretty operation.
  • Az: Az is a member of the Smoke and a close friend of David. He provides support and guidance to Tally as she navigates the challenges of rebelling against the government.

These characters, among others, contribute to the intricate web of relationships and conflicts that drive the narrative of “Uglies” and shape Tally’s journey of self-discovery and rebellion against societal norms.

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