Uglies is the first book in a series and hooks the reader into picking up the next book.
This book takes place in what sounds like the future where everyone is considered ugly until they turn sixteen. On their sixteenth birthday, the person undergoes extensive plastic surgery and is turned pretty. From then on, life is about having fun and being beautiful. Tally, the narrator, can't wait until her birthday which is in a matter of weeks. But then she meets Shay, a teen who doesn't know if she wants to be pretty. Shay challenges the idea that you have to have surgery in order to be considered pretty or happy, especially because your looks aren't the only thing that changes after surgery. She knows of a secret group of people who live in "The Smoke," an area of people who chose not to have the surgery and are happily living in the wilderness. She wants Tally to join her there, but Tally isn't sure if she can live her life as an ugly. On the day of her surgery, something goes wrong. Tally is taken in and told the only way she can have her surgery is if she leads the authorities to "The Smoke." Although she does go to "The Smoke," she battles with whether or not to activate the tracking device which will lead the authorities to them. Things get even more complicated when she learns some secrets about what it really means to become pretty.
This was a really engaging book. It challenges the idea of what makes a person pretty and the power people put on looks. The concept sounds great to a degree - that no one will ever be prettier than another person - but you see how much gets lost when everyone is the same. The novel is about friendship and loyalty and standing up for what you believe in. This book flawlessly gets you thinking while still providing a thoroughly entertaining novel. It connects you with the characters and leaves you longing for more, especially because the drama takes a turn at the end and creates a great cliffhanger. I really enjoyed this novel.