Every since she was a Littlie, Tally Youngblood has dreamed of her sixteenth birthday–the day she will become Pretty. Since the government started providing the Operation to everyone at age sixteen, the social hierarchies surrounding physical attractiveness have dissolved–everyone is equally Pretty. But until she turns sixteen, Tally is an Ugly, and so long as she’s Ugly, she’s going to have fun riding her hoverboard, playing pranks, dodging the government Wardens, and sneaking into forbidden places, like the Rusty Ruins, the remnants of civilization from before.
But on her sixteenth birthday, everything changes. Tally’s friend Shay runs away to join an underground community of Ugly rebels in a hidden city called the Smoke. The agents at Special Circumstances want to catch Shay and destroy the Smoke, and they need Tally. The Specials give Tally an ultimatum: help them find the Smoke, or stay Ugly forever. Unwilling to face a life of Ugliness, Tally takes the tracking device from Special Circumstances and embarks on a dangerous journey across the wilderness, following a set of cryptic clues that Shay left behind.
Uglies is the first book in a trilogy. It was a lot of fun to read, especially if you like dystopian/sci-fi books (as I do). The other two books in the trilogy fell a little flat for me, but they’re still worth reading. Or you could just read the first one. (It kind of reminds me of The Matrix: it might be better just to watch the first one because it’s excellent, and assume that the following two involve some serious action and a major overhaul of society. . . . )
If you liked Uglies, you might also like The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn.