At a certain age, "uglies" in this futuristic society have operations to optimize their physical appearance, and then they move to New Pretty Town and have parties every night. Tally has been counting the days until her operation, until she meets a friend who questions the system, and discovers some ugly truths. Is it wrong to want to look like the best possible version of yourself?
Before The Hunger Games or Divergent, Uglies and its companion books were predicting cultural trends, and warning about some of their consequences. This book leans more on environmental consequences of societal choices than those series, but still examines interesting social questions.
There is not content that most people would object to for upper elementary readers in the first book, but the themes and complexity lend itself more to middle school and up for a majority of students.
This is the first book in a trilogy by Scott Westerfield. The second is called Pretties, and the third is Specials. An additional book, Extras, (which has a different interesting premise) features a different protagonist with some overlapping characters from this trilogy.
"Tally wondered if this was someplace where people were taken when their operations went wrong, when beauty turned cruel. Then why was she here? She hadn't even had the operation yet."
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