PrettiesThe Uglies series is a science-fiction series set at least several centuries in the future. It tells about life after our current civilization was destroyed. The survivors of this disaster established cities much smaller than those currently existing, each of which is independently governed with limited traveling. At the age of sixteen, each person undergoes an operation which boosts their immune system and reflexes while giving them well-proportioned, symmetrical faces based on an international standard, so that all "pretties", as they are then referred to, look nearly identical. They are also given brain lesions which make them peaceful and compliant. Before they receive the operation, children are referred to as "uglies", and are kept separate from their older friends. Later operations follow to show signs of increasing age while maintaining this beauty, and the lesions may be removed for pretties entering careers which require quick thinking. Pretties who work for Special Circumstances, a group which ensures the city's security, are given an operation to make them look terrifying, become very strong and fast, and have incredibly fast reflexes.
The protagonist of the story. Early in the book she falls in love with Zane (forgetting about David) and she and Zane find "the Cure for Pretty-Mindedness" which was stashed by Croy. She finds out from Maddy that she really wasn't cured and that she thought her way out of the "Pretty-mind" state.
The new love of Tally. Zane knew some of the people in the Smoke and had been determined to escape to the Smoke before his surgery(in the same group as Shay was supposed to escape with). He decided not to at the last minute(like Shay). He was captured by the Specials and was threatened. He had to tell the Specials about the Smoke, or they would turn him Special. He tells the Specials what he knew and then they turned their attention to Shay. He has brain damage from taking a pill that cured the lesions.
A best friend of Tally until she finds out that Tally shared "The Cure" with Zane instead of her. She then feels betrayed by Tally and tries to find her own cure. She then becomes a "Cutter", an improved special who cuts themselves.
David is still in love with Tally from when she was an ugly. He is the one that rescues her from the wild and takes her to the New Smoke. Tally no longer loves him the same way David loves her. He thinks that is only because she loves Zane because he is a pretty.
The best friend of Tally (along with Shay). He is part of the "Crims", a group of troublemakers. He was going to go to the New Smoke with Zane and Tally but was too scared and chickened out.
Friend of Peris who is also part of the "Crims." He escaped to the New Smoke.
David's mother. She invented the cure. She tells Tally that the second pill was meant to stop the nanos in the first pill from eating away the brain. Without it, the nanos would eat the brain, as seen in Zane. She doesn't like Tally very much after she accidentally led the Special Circumstances to the Smoke and the death of Az, David's father.
Head of Special Circumstances, the reason why Tally was sent to Smoke and why Shay is pretty. Creator of Project "Cutters"
He appeared at the party dressed in a Special Circumstances costume and followed Tally. He told her where to find the pills and he was her friend at the Smoke.
Andrew Simpson Smith
He is the holy man to an experimental pre-Rusty village . He helps Tally escape the village to the Rusty Ruins. Andrews village is part of a Specials experiment.
Tally is enjoying life as a new pretty, hoping to be voted into Shay's "Crims" clique, when the party she is at gets crashed by Croy, a Smokie who brings back faded memories of her time in the wild. With the help of Zane, leader of the Crims, Tally follows Croy's instructions and retrieves two pills - the cure for the pretty brain lesions - and panics about taking them. To avoid detection before the Specials arrive, Tally and Zane agree to split the cure, each taking one of the pills.
The pills quickly cure the pair of them, although they are affected differently, with Zane's cure apparently more effective, but having the side effect of crippling headaches. Suspicious of Tally's unusual behaviour, the Specials fit her and Zane with tracking cuffs, which spy on them constantly and thwart their plans to escape together to the New Smoke. However, they still encourage the other Crims to make themselves "bubbly" with adrenalin and caffeine, both of which help to combat the affect of the lesions. This culminates in a prank which results in all the Crims falling onto a soccer field during the pre-game fireworks, making the clique famous.
The prank also has some unintended consequences. With the adrenaline rush, Shay remembers Tally's betrayal of the Smoke and breaks off their friendship. The prank also attracts the attention of Dr Cable, who offers Tally a job as a Special, which Tally strongly refuses. Several days later, Tally and Zane decide to journey into Uglytown to try and contact the New Smoke, and meet up with Sussy and Dex, uglies who helped Tally break the Smokies out of Special Circumstances. Sussy and Dex inform Tally and Zane that the New Smoke has recently returned to the Rusty Ruins, and then take them to see Shay, who, with some other Crims, has formed a clique based around self-harm, which she calls the Cutters. Cutting their arms with a knife....
Suddenly, Zane collapses from one of his headaches, and Tally insists on taking him to the hospital, although they mask their real reason for going there. Zane realises that he desperately needs Maddy's help to cure himself, and threatens to use an industrial tool to remove the cuff, in spite of the risk it would destroy his entire arm. Just before he can go through with the plan, Tally realizes that they could use heat to expand the cuffs and remove them. The Crims steal a hot air balloon and Tally and Zane use heat proof gloves to remove the cuffs safely before jumping from the balloon with hoverboards. Tally, the last to jump, is distracted by Peris who has changed his mind about escaping, and chooses to stay, is too late to jump over the city's metal grid.
Instead, she jumps over a river, and lands safely but loses her hoverboard in the process. Walking through the forest, she is shocked to discover a pre-Rusty tribe living there, existing in a state of constant warfare with nearby tribes and viewing pretties as gods. She befriends the tribe's holy man, Andrew Simpson Smith, and realises that the group is an anthropology project used to study violence and test the effectiveness of the pretty lesions on a violent mind. Tally encourages Andrew Simpson Smith to escape from the boundaries set for him, and to ignore the false gods, and with his help she steals a hovercraft of a visiting pretty scientist and flies to the Rusty Ruins.
At the Rusty Ruins, Tally is met by David, an awkward reunion as she reacts instinctively to his "ugly" face. As they travel to the New Smoke together, Tally becomes increasingly conflicted between her old feelings for David and her new feelings for Zane. When they arrive, she learns that Zane has suffered severe damage from the nanorobots in the cure, which Tally's pill was intended to stop from happening - Tally's pill in fact had no effect on the lesions whatsoever, and the cure she experienced was self-motivated. Fortunately, the damage is not permanent, and Tally resolves to help Zane recover.
However, the Smokies suddenly realize a tracking signal has been activated, which is hidden inside Zane's tooth with no chance of removal because it is conected to bone. The New Smoke must move on, leaving Zane behind, and Tally insists on staying with him, realizing that she truly loves him and needs to help him recover. David feels hurt by this, and tries to make her leave, accusing her of choosing Zane merely for his looks, so Tally insults him to make him leave her behind. The Specials arrive, with Shay and the Cutters having been turned into a new clique of Specials, and Shay informs Tally that, rather than return to her pretty life, Tally will become Special.....