Parents' Guide to

Uglies: Uglies Quartet, Book 1

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Thoughtful sci-fi about the price of beauty.

Uglies: Uglies Quartet, Book 1 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 15 parent reviews

age 14+

Thought provoking for teens. I have concerns about the series.

As a high school librarian, I read the Uglies series to see if it would be appropriate for my students. The idea about a gov't that orders surgeries that beautify but dumb down the populace makes you think about priorities and freedom. The writer has created another word with it's own vocab, which is enjoyable. My reservations are how amoral the writer is in approaching teen drinking and partying and "cutting." Cutting doesn't show up in Uglies, but if you read Uglies, you will want to read the rest of the series, and later one of the main characters starts to cut herself to make herself more aware and alert. Eventually a group of Cutters form. The author is totally neutral in his treatment of the topic. My concern is that young people might read this series without thinking critically and think there is nothing wrong with cutting (or some of the other activities..., but I'm most concerned with the cutting). I plan to include this series in our library, but will paste a statement inside the front cover about the seriousness of cutting and websites for help.
age 12+

Still on the fence about this series

I really need to read the rest of the trilogy before making a final call on this series. I like the idea the author is trying to explore - what would you be willing to give up to attain perfect beauty? But I found the constant drawn out descriptions of what is basically a flying skate board boring and repetitious. There is a minor side story about a genetically modified plant that seems contrived to allow the author to moralize on environmental issues. As the main review states, you can see the plot twists coming a mile away so it feels like a sci fi novel dumbed down for kids instead of an intelligent sci fi novel written for kids. Not sure why people feel the main character is a strong female role model - she lies and stabs her friends in the back to get what she wants. It's unclear why her romantic interest falls for her before she does anything to deserve his trust or respect. Shay is far more interesting and I kept wishing she had been made the star of the show instead.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (15 ):
Kids say (132 ):

Author Scott Westerfeld manages a delicate balancing act in UGLIES. It's obvious that he had a point to make when he decided to write a book about a futuristic society that celebrates beauty above all else -- and that the world of the book is a not-so-logical extension of certain trends in today's society having to do with physical attractiveness, plastic surgery, mindless consumerism and pleasure-seeking, and divorce from nature. But he never hits the reader over the head with a message and, in fact, allows the lives of the pretties enough appeal to make the argument two-sided.

This intellectual argument is set inside a crackling, though at times maddeningly predictable, story. About two-thirds of the way through the book is a series of events that alert readers will have seen coming a hundred pages earlier, and they'll be frustrated that Tally so stupidly falls into these circumstances. But the final third is a breathtaking race to the cliffhanger ending.

Book Details

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