Pretties — “Uglies” Series


Readability Age Range



Year Published

Book Review

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the second book in the “Uglies” series.

Plot Summary

In Tally Youngblood’s futuristic world, the society leaders provide everyone with surgery that makes them “pretty” when they turn 16. Tally contentedly parties with other attractive people until she realizes another component to prettiness: The surgery also alters people’s minds by rendering them complacent and obedient. Friends from her past life as an Ugly smuggle her pills that will supposedly cure her of her mental fog, and she and her boyfriend, Zane, along with several other pretties, escape from Pretty Town. When Tally gets separated from her friends, she has to find her way back to them through the wilderness. Ultimately, an old friend of Tally’s from Pretty Town — who now works for the leaders of their society — forces Tally to become a “Special” operative.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

The author clearly sends the message about the threat some types of technology and energy consumption may pose to the environment. A primitive tribe of people believes Tally is a god because of her beauty — beauty that was actually attained through surgery.

Authority Roles

For whatever reason, parents are rarely part of the world in which Tally lives. The adults she encounters are either the enemy (special forces that keep everyone pretty and unaware) or clueless middle-age adults called “middle pretties.” Because pretties are basically indestructible physically — and because they are simple and vain — there’s no need for the Specials to keep them from drinking and partying to their hearts’ content. Tally’s childhood friend David had parents; they were protective of him and strove to find a cure for the “pretty” mind control.

Profanity & Violence

Profanities include p—ed, crap, d–n and what the h—.

Sexual Content

Tally and Zane kiss a number of times. Although sex isn’t mentioned, Tally seems to be sleeping at Zane’s place for weeks or months at a time.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at

Additional Comments

Alcohol: The Pretties frequently use alcohol.

Cutting: Tally’s friend cuts herself in an effort to gain mental clarity. Zane has Tally take calorie purge pills to think more sharply.

You can request a review of a title you can’t find at [email protected].

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email