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10 Reasons Why Uglies Is Still Great After More Than 10 Years

August 20, 2018
Tara Grieco
Riveted Editorial Board

With a new book coming in the Uglies series, we can’t help but reflect on how much our world has changed since Uglies first hit shelves…changed to look a lot more like the world depicted in Scott Westerfeld’s epic series, that is. Even though Uglies came out in 2005 (!!!), it’s more relevant today than ever, and here’s why.

10 Reasons Why Uglies Is Still Great After More Than 10 Years

1. The concept of Hoverboards is as relevant as ever!


With these “Hoverboard” (actually just self-balancing scooters/harder-to-ride segways) showing up everywhere–the mall, the subway, crowded streets, even the court at NBA games–it’s beginning to feel like these devices are going to become a main form of transportation. (Except people in real life do not have “crash bracelets” and balancing belly ring clips like Tally.)

Can we just get some hoverships and floating ice rinks now?

2. The lure of plastic surgery is real.


In a society where you cannot avoid celebrity news, this will always be relevant. Even those of us that like the way we look can get a little insecure after seeing some recent Kylie Jenner selfies. (She DEFINITELY looks like a New Pretty.)

3. No matter how much culture changes, most of us still feel ugly and awkward at some point between 12 and 16.


It’s brilliant when Tally sees an older teen Ugly for the first time, and thinks that maybe people get less ugly after 16, but they would never find out since that’s when they undergo surgery in her world. I can’t even imagine what my Ugly nickname would be if I lived in her world as a young teen. Frizzhead? Four-Eyes? Freckle-face?

4. The lingo alone is reason to reread this book.


Between “rusties,” “bubbly,” “The Smoke,” and “SpagBol,” you’ll have fun new terms for every (odd) situation in your week.

5. The femship!


Although Shay and Tally have a complicated relationship as the plot progresses, their affection for each other is really what kickstarts everything. We should all be so lucky as to have a friend who would turn themselves in to a dystopian regime surgery in order to eventually cure us from our pretty-mindedness.

6. Our society still depends on oil.


In the novel, it’s explained that the main reason the Rusties’ civilization (ours!) failed is because of an airborne bacterium that infected petroleum and caused it to set on fire when in contact with oxygen. Basically cars and planes started exploding all over the place. Even though our society is constantly working on means of alternative energy, most of us still need oil to get by day-to-day, whether it’s keeping us warm, fueling our travel— even making crayons. Without it, we would be an immobile people, all freezing our bums off, and without glitter Crayolas. The threat is real.

7. It is a YA that actually feels like it’s written for Young Adults.


A lot of YA today features increasingly mature protagonists who have to save the world and never worry about normal teen stuff: how their peers see them, first kisses, outgrowing a best friend, where they fit in, or causing trouble just for the sake of causing trouble. The Uglies series is able to tackle these real teenage things, while also taking the readers on a thrilling dystopian adventure.

8. All four of the books in the series are compulsively readable.


Once you re-read the first one you’ll have to go back and re-read them all. And then you can venture into some of Scott Westerfeld’s other equally well-done books: Bogus to Bubbly: An Insider’s Guide to the World of Uglies, Leviathan, Afterworlds, and the newest, Zeroes.

9. David as a Book Boyfriend never gets less attractive.


Through Tally, we are able to fall in love with David’s personality instead of his looks—his bravery, kindness, intelligence, and leadership skills. And that kind of love can last a lifetime for some of us, no matter how many “pretties” come along. (Plus, there is nothing like a tough guy in a worn leather jacket.)

10. Feeling pretty as you are is always an important lesson.


No matter what your age, there are always parts of your appearance you sometimes wish you could fix. But if we all altered these things, where would that lead? Into a society where everyone looked the same, and only cared about looks and partying? Westerfeld is conveying a vital lesson here that will always be applicable.

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