- New Ideas
Tally Youngblood is introduced in the book just shortly before the dawn of her sixteenth birthday. All kids are deemed to be ugly before their sixteenth birthday when they receive plastic surgery to make them pretty. All of the Pretties live just across the river from where the Uglies await their right of passage. All of the ugly children try to hide their faces and live their lives in the belief that they are all ugly. Perfection is the only acceptable thing in the society that they live in. There are a few people that do not transfer to the pretty side of society after their surgery. Some people do not survive the surgery and a few others do not become pretty. They are sent to live in shame because they will always be ugly. Tally Youngblood fears this option more than her own death. There are also rumours that there are some select people who do not become pretty. Instead these people are chosen to become Specials. These people are not pretty, they are beautiful but in a cruel way. They also run as a form of government for this futuristic society.
The End of The Rusties
The Rusties are how Tally’s generation refers to us in current day society. They believe that we were stupid to rely on fossil fuels and that we were causing the death of the Earth with pollution. All of the Rusties society died off in a fiery blaze after someone created a virus that caused fuel to automatically catch fire. Most of the society burned in their cars, too stupid to realize that their gasoline was what caused the fire. A few people from that generation survived the carnage and constructed the society that Tally lives in today. They have no cars and recycle everything that they use. There is no longer a need to clear cut the forest around them and destroy the planet with pollution. The Earth seems to be a healthier place to live after the demise of our generation.
After Tally’s best friend turns pretty, a month before Tally, she feels lonely and isolated. She has been left on the bad side of the river alone, until she meets Shay. Shay is a wildcard girl who does not want to become pretty on her sixteenth birthday. She begins to tell Tally tales of a group of people who live in the forest and survive entirely off the land. The kicker in the story is that not one of the people in that group ever became Pretty. They all believe that they were pretty all along, not ugly. So, the night before Shay’s trip to the hospital for her surgery she takes off to find this group of non-pretty people, leaving Tally behind to suffer the consequences of her actions.
Tally is excited to travel to the hospital for her surgery. She is ready to finally become Pretty and to go live the life that she has been promised on the other side of the river. Then right before she is taken in for surgery she is told that there is a problem and she can not receive her surgery today. It turns out that the government knows that her friend Shay has run off to find this group of people in the woods. They believe that Tally knows where they are located, and they will not let her become Pretty until she travels to find them. Tally is stunned and ashamed, but still travels on her journey alone to find the group of wilderness survivalists in the forest. Once she reaches them she must decide if she will activate her becon and let the Specials know where they are, or if she wants to stay with them and never become pretty.
I really love Uglies by Scott Westerfield! It has so many new futuristic ideas, like hoverboards with wristbands that keep you from falling to your death. It is also fascinating to see the steps that the government would be willing to take to keep the world from falling to ruins again. The surprising twist in the story will be something that you will never see coming. It is a very recommended book for anyone who enjoys futuristic, young adult novels. Comments and questions are welcome!
About the Author
Scott Westerfeld is the author of many books including the companion novels to Uglies. They are Pretties, Specials, and Extras. He also wrote a graphic novel that continues the story of Tally’s friend Shay called Shay’s Story. He is a genius when it comes to writing about futuristic societies.