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Publisher's Summary

Tally lives in a world where your 16th birthday brings aesthetic perfection: an operation that erases all your flaws, transforming you from an "Ugly" into a "Pretty". She is on the eve of this important event and cannot wait for her life to change. As well as guaranteeing supermodel looks, life as a Pretty seems to revolve around having a good time. But then she meets Shay, who is also 15 - but with a very different outlook on life. Shay isn't sure she wants to be Pretty and plans to escape to a community in the forest - the Rusty Ruins - where Uglies go to escape "turning". Tally won't be persuaded to join her, as this would involve sacrificing everything she's ever wanted for a lot of uncertainty. When she is taken in for questioning on her birthday, however, Tally gets sent to the Ruins anyway - against her will. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she could ever imagine: Find her friend, Shay, and turn her in or never turn Pretty at all. What she discovers in the Ruins reveals that there is nothing "pretty" about the transformations...and the choice Tally makes will change her world forever.

©2005 Scott Westerfeld. All rights reserved. (P)2015 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about Uglies

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Not my type of dystopian

Within this dystopian novel, the people - (boys and girls) get surgeries when they turn 16 years old to become "pretty". The pretty people have higher social standing than the uglies. The protagonist (Tally) meets a friend (Shay) who convinces Tally to reject the surgery.
Like most dystopian novels or satire, it seems to be some social commentary on our culture's beauty standards which is a message I could get behind. I think the beauty industry can be incredibly harmful to young girls. From teen girls feeling shame at having an actual skin texture and editing their selfies on social media to eating disorders to plastic surgery gone wrong to foot binding. The ways in which culture harms girls with beauty standards are numerous.

However I didn't find that this novel was a compelling read for me. Maybe it is because I prefer non-fiction to fiction books. Maybe it's because as a 30 year old woman I'm not the target demographic - a teen. Maybe it's because the author is male and there was something lacking from the female perspective. Maybe it's because I have seen so many misogynistic horrors in the real world that I think this book lacks imagination. I think Handmaid's Tale or The Scarlet Letter is something I'd recommend reading over this book.

I also I didn't think it was realistic for all the pretty surgeries depicted in this book don't end up becoming botched surgeries? The dystopian in this book is that this society is vain and systematically practices surgery on people when they turn a certain age to become "pretty" and that pretty people are higher on the social hierarchy than uglies. What I think is weird is how plastic surgery is depicted as this perfected craft. Part of the horror of modern day plastic surgery is the surgeries gone wrong and the beauty industry covering up the harm because their bottom line is making money off women's insecurity.

All and all I didn't think this book made much of a statement. It didn't really play off real societial fears because it portrays beauty standards as affecting both boys and girls equally. In this society, even boys are expected to become a "pretty" - which doesn't reflect the misogyny of beauty standards in the real world. Instead this book goes in weird directions like a futuristic society with hover boards which didn't add anything to the story or overall message.

Also I thought it was boring. Many of the characters like Tally or Shay or anyone these characters encounter were boring and lacked personality. Tally and Shay almost seemed like the same character to me. There wasn't any villains or bullies that struck fear into the reader because of how similar they appeared to people in real life. There wasn't any rich conflict against protagonists and supporting characters. It just seemed like Tally passively agrees with Shay's idea because they are friends. Character motives and ideologies seem weak. Seems like a man vs society plotline where things are very black and white: the pretties vs the uglies. But it's just weird reading it from the perspective of a grown woman who has some cultural awareness on the war on woman.



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great

absolutely loved this book it is so good. read it first in high school I'll always come back to it

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Très bon livre

Je n'aime habituellement pas ce qui est science fiction, mais ce livre m'a beaucoup plu.

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love the book!

loved the story, not a super fan of the narration. It's not bad, just not how I read the story in my head.

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phenomenal

This is such an amazing book. I could listen to it for the rest of my life.

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A great book for teens and young adults!

It is hard to find a teen based science fiction book quite like this series. You will be interested in the world that might be one day and how they may view today's society. Is it superficial to make everyone equally beautiful or a way to stop War ? Furthermore this may not be that far from the truth with modern science working on ideas like CRISPER.

The second book is my favorite with the fourth and final being quite skippable.  #Audible1

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  • Lee R
  • 2017-03-31

Great Story, Mediocre Performance

I'm a big fan of the Uglies series and Scott Westerfeld. He writes interesting stories and characters. Unfortunately Emily Tremaine's reading drags the story down. She has a nice soothing voice, more suited to a relaxation mantra rather than an action-y story of tricks and escapes. It's not bad enough for me to not listen to the rest of the series but I definitely recommend purchasing the books as well so you can get the real feel of a good story.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs. T
  • 2016-11-09

Deadpan narrator murders bubbly story.

This is one of my all-time favorite books. I've worn out two paperback copies over the years. Now that I'm a mom with young kids, it's hard to find time to sit and read, so when I found Uglies on audible, I was ecstatic. Emily Tremaine is decidedly less so. Not only was the reading emotionless and flat, her odd placement of inflections was maddeningly off on several occasions, distorting the meaning of the dialogue. Scott Westerfeld is an amazing author. Uglies and its sequels deserve the high praise and popularity of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and other critically acclaimed YA series.
Would I buy this book again? I probably will one of these days. In print. On audio? Only if someone else is reading it to me.

42 people found this helpful

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  • Shelley Reinhart
  • 2015-11-12

Uglies

I thought this book was good. It was kinda slow at some parts but it overall was a good read. I didn't really like the reader she was ok. She doesn't have that much emotion.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Destiny & Aaron
  • 2016-07-06

If it wasn't in my recommendations..

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The book was okay I listened to it because it was in my recommendaitons, the summary seemed like it would be good. But I don't feel like it was that attention capturing to be honest.

Would you be willing to try another book from Scott Westerfeld? Why or why not?

I'm going to read the rest of this series only because I don't like to start a series without finnishing it.

What three words best describe Emily Tremaine’s performance?

Her performance seemed pretty montone compared to some of the other's i've heard.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amayrani
  • 2016-11-26

best book ever

this book really took over my mind and body it felt like i was actually there with the characters in the book saying and doing everything they did.it was a really amazing experience.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Cynthia Shepp
  • 2015-11-29

A Crazy Look at a Could-Be Future

Would you consider the audio edition of Uglies to be better than the print version?

I've actually read the print version a long time ago. Audio is great. Listening to the book is like having a movie in your head. I'm not sure if say one is better than the other. My imagination is great. With and without a narrator, the book is fantastic.

Which scene was your favorite?

My favorite scene was when Tally decided once and for all which side she was for... and fought like hell to stay there.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were a lot of moments. One in particular involving a rabbit pen and shoes. I'm not going to give away the details however. 😉

Any additional comments?

This is a great series with a fantastic narrator. It is well worth the credits or money spent.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel P.
  • 2017-05-18

Great series

Would have preferred a more enthusiastic reader, but enjoyed it regardless. Good start to a series and I'll definitely download the others

4 people found this helpful

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  • janelee torres
  • 2020-07-05

Great Story

The story is great but I feel like a bit more emotion could have been put into the reading by Emily.

I will say that it was a bit odd listening to an audio in 3rd person POV.

can't wait to listen to the next book in the series!

1 person found this helpful

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  • T W
  • 2020-02-13

good concept, but boring young adult execution

before I write this, I will say that I didn't know that it was a young adult novel. it does fall into a lot of the tropes as most young adult books that I have read. The world, and main concept are very good. The problem is, the protagonist is extremely hollow, as is the overall story and every character you meet. it seems like the author just had a really good idea and had to tell it, but didn't do so in a very fun or convincing way. halfway through the book, I just wanted to read the SparkNote version for overall summary and see what the main idea behind this was. The main reveal was a good one, and really makes one think about how much we are giving up to our governments. how much is too much? when does it cross a line that cannot be uncrossed? aside from that, very boring.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Brad&Britney
  • 2017-06-08

This is definitely not ugly!

I loved the story!! The plot was amazing and very well thought out. I enjoyed the characters--especially the main protagonist. Unlike any other main character in YA dystopian, in this series you watch Tally learn from her experiences and grow as a main character should. I listened to this audiobook (both narrations--2008 and 2015). I didn't like neither narrator; however, I preferred the 2008 version more just because the narrator has more personality.

1 person found this helpful