The Uglies
Study Guide
Chapter 1- New Pretty
• What are some details that suggest a time setting
for this story? pg4
What time setting is being suggested by these
Who is Peris? pg4
• What two towns does the river divide?pg6
How does a pretty’s “magic” make uglies feel?
What kind of mask does Tally wear? pg10
Chapter 2- Best Friends
How does the person falling from the tower not die?pg11
How did Peris change from an ugly into a pretty?pg13
What is one of the functions of Tally’s interface
What are some of the features that make someone
What is Tally’s plan for escaping Garbo Mansion?pg19
“What was worse in New Pretty Town, she
wondered? Your mansion burning down, or an ugly crashing
your party?” What does Tally’s question tell us about how
pretties think?
Chapter Three-Shay
Why are there sirens going off at the beginning of this chapter? 21, 24
Why did Peris have a scar that matched Tally’s? 25
Why doesn’t Peris have his scar anymore? 25
How might Peris’s scar be a symbol for the relationship between uglies
and pretties?
What are some parts of the operation to make people pretty? 25
Would you have this operation done?
How many levels of being pretty do you definitely know about? 26
How many levels of being pretty do you guess there are? Why?
What is the allusion on page 28 a reference to?
Why is Shay in New Pretty Town? 29
How did Shay get to New Pretty Town? 30
Chapter Four-Wipe Out
How do the crash bracelets keep Tally from
hurting herself when she falls? 33
What is Tally’s ugly nickname? 36
What surprising information does Shay share
with Tally? 37
According to Tally, why don’t their pretty
friends visit Tally & Shay? 38
What was Peris’s nickname? 38
What is Shay’s nickname? 36
Chapter Five-Facing the
How many morphos does Shay have? 40
What does “symmetry” mean? 42
What is a morpho? 39-44
On page 44, Shay says, “Everyone judged everyone else on their
appearance. People who were taller got better jobs, and people even voted
for some politicians just because they weren’t quite as ugly as everybody
else.” This is information from an actual study of real people from
2004. Do you agree with Tally that making everyone the same level of
pretty will help get rid of this problem?
What is Shay’s opinion about becoming pretty? Use details from both
Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 to support your answer.
In modern America, advertisements in magazines and on TV feature
beautiful people to help make products sell better. How might this relate
to Shay’s thoughts about making morphos?
Chapter 6- Pretty Boring
To where does Shay want to make a
night trip? 48
Do you agree that “being required to
have fun” is boring? Explain your
What are two topics Tally doesn’t
know about? 51, 52
Chapter 7-Rapids
Based on the description of the pretty operation on page 50, do you
think this is something you would do? Use details from the book
to support your answer.
On pages 53 and 54, Tally notices that it’s almost like the dorms are
purposely designed to allow uglies to sneak out. What might be a
reason for the government to purposely allow the uglies to sneak
How come Shay and Tally’s hoverboards won’t tell on them when they
go out at night? 54
Shay thinks Peris told Tally to not take risks for what reason? 55
What makes hoverboards hover? 58
What happens if your hoverboard leaves a safe operating area? 59
How can the hoverboards work on the river? 60
Chapter 8-The Rusty
Based on the details from the story, who
were the Rusties? 61-63
Do you agree with Shay that the “trick”
she played on Tally by not telling her about
the gap in the rollercoaster was a good
trick? Explain your answer.
Explain the process that allowed some
uglies to discover the rollercoaster. 67
Chapter-9 Waiting for
Who is David? 71
Is David real? 73
Explain what Tally means when she
thinks, “Being in the city all the time
made everything fake, in a way” (74).
Chapter 10-Fight
• a. According to Tally, at what age do you
become an ugly? 77
• b. What is the prank Shay and Tally play
on the new uglies? 79-80
• c. Why did Tally and Shay wear
disguises? 79
• d. Why is swimming a “great trick” (81)?
• e. Do you agree with Shay or Tally in
their argument on pages 82-84?
Chapter 11-Last Trick
• a. Do you think 15 year-olds should be allowed to
get plastic surgery? Explain your answer.
• b. What is the “last trick” Shay wants to
perform? 89
• c. What is the name of the place David lives? 91
• d. On page 92, Shay and Tally debate over what
it would mean if everyone was ugly; Shay says that
would mean no one is ugly, but Tally thinks that
means no one is pretty. Who is right?
• e. At what age does the pretty operation no
longer work? 93
Chapter 12-Operation
• a. After reading the description of the
operation on page 97, do you think the
pretties are still human? Explain your
• b. Why do you think that the place where
late pretties live is called “Crumblyville”?
• c. How do most middle pretties make
Tally feel? 98-99, 101
Chapter 13-Special
a. What are these new middle pretties like? 103, 104
b. Why are people’s eyes getting flashed? 98, 100, 103
c. What does the fact that Tally has always called everyone,
even adults, by their first names tell us about her society? 104
d. What is the purpose of “Special Circumstances”? 106-107
e. Why would the Special Circumstances building be “designed to
make its occupants vaguely nauseated” (103)?
f. What is your opinion about the structure and functions of the
city as described on pages 106-107?
g. Look back at Chapter 7: “Rapids”, especially the second study
guide question. How does Special Circumstances seem to decide
whether or not an ugly is clever? 108
Chapter 14-Ugly for Life
• a. Why might Tally find it important to
realize that “Special Circumstances could
make mistakes” (113)?
• b. Who are Ellie and Sol? 114
• c. What is their advice to Tally? 115-119
Chapter 15-Peris
• a. What does “bubbly” mean? 124
• b. What does “bogus” mean? 124
• c. “Rationalize” means “to come up with a reason
to do something you want to, even though you
know you shouldn’t do it”. How does Tally
rationalize breaking her promise to Shay?
• d. The sun has risen, and Peris says “It’s almost
past my bedtime” (127). What does that tell us
about how pretties live?
Chapter 16-Infiltrator
Chapter 16: Infiltrator
• a. Do you agree with Dr. Cable when she says,
“We always have choices” (129)?
• b. What does Dr. Cable expect Tally to do? 132133
• c. How is Special Circumstances going to find
Tally when she gets to the Smoke? 134
• d. What finally convinces Tally to infiltrate the
Smoke? 135
Part II
The Smoke
Chapter 17 Leaving
• What are some of the special features of Tally’s new
hoverboard? 139-141
• Explain the metaphor Tally makes to compare Shay to the
roller coaster. 143
• What is the long flat “roller coaster”? 145,147
Chapter 18 Spagbol
• How does Tally learn that in the wild, “mistakes
have serious consequences”? 150
• What does Tally mean when she thinks that she
could have “ended up so much SpagBol at the
bottom of the cliffs” 152
Chapter 19 Worst
• How did Tally get across the second
break in the tracks? 159-160
• What lesson did Tally learn from the
past? 163
Chapter 20: The Side you
• Why is the right side the side Tally
despises? 167
• Why does Tally try to hide her
hoverboard as it charges? 170
Chapter 21: Firestorm
• Who set the fire? 174-175
Chapter 22: Bug Eyes
Where are the rangers from? 180
What is the machine the rangers fly? 180
Why are there so many white flowers? 181
What is a monoculture? 181
How far into the future is this story set? 181
Why do the rangers burn the flowers? 182
What do the flowers symbolize? 182-183
What does the fact that Tally doesn’t know what a
volunteer is (184) tell us about her society?
Chapter 23 :Lies
• Why is David able to find a homing
device on Tally, and why don’t the
Smokies think she’s a traitor when
they find the device? 188-189
• Why does Croy want Tally’s SpagBol?
Chapter 24: The Model
• Why is Tally so shocked when she finds out on page 195
that the Smokies cut down trees?
• How do the Smokies compensate for cutting down trees?
• Why is Tally so surprised by the magazines Shay shows her?
• Why do you think Tally is so surprised at the idea of
Chapter 25:Work
• What is it that makes the younger
Smokies seem like middle pretties?
• What is a latrine?
• What work does Tally end up doing?
Chapter 26: David
• What does the fact that Tally is
horrified by David’s leather jacket
(213) tell us about life in Tally’s city?
• What is so unusual about David? 217
• What job do David’s parent’s have?
Chapter 27:Hearttrob
• What is the reason Tally is acting
“weird” according to Shay? 224
• Why hasn’t Tally activated the
homing device yet? 224-228
Chapter 28: Suspicion
• What benefit did the Rusties get
from clear-cutting? 233
• Why is Croy suspicious of Tally? 236238
• What is the situation between Shay,
David, and Tally? 239-241
Chapter 29: Bravery
• Why does Tally think she is “walking
poison” and a “weed”? 244
• What is the big misunderstanding
between David and Tally? 245-248
• What emotion makes Tally see an
ugly as a pretty? 250 252
Chapter 30: The Secret
• Why is Tally surprised that David and
Az look very similar? 255-256
Chapter 31: Pretty Minds
• What discovery did Az and Maddy make?
• Why did Maddy and Az run away> 266-267
• Would you choose to become incredibly
good-looking if it also meant getting very
minor brain damage?
Chapter 32: Burning
• How do Maddy and Az know there must be a simple cure for
the lesions? 271
• When Az says, “History would indicate that the majority of
people have always been sheep” (270) what does he mean?
• Do you agree with Tally that it is “not fair” (277) that some
people are born better-looking than others? Why?
• Why did Tally throw her pendant into the fire? Give two
reasons? 280-282
Part III
Into the
Chapter 33: Invasion
• What are some qualities given to the
Specials by their operation? 288289
• What two things did the Boss keep
for emergencies, and why did he keep
them? 290-291
• How good is a special’s hearing? 296
Chapter 34: Rabbit Pen
• Tally’s idea of “home” changes during
the story. How does she define
“home”? How do you define “home”?
Chapter 35: In Case of
• How did the Specials find the
Smoke? 306
• Based on their conversation on pages
306-308, do you think Dr. Cable
trusts Tally? Explain your answer.
Chapter 36: Run
• On page 314, Tally thinks of David getting the operation,
wondering if he could “have his face filed down and replaced
by a pretty mask”. This is very different than how she
thought of the operation in the first few chapters. What
are some of the differences, and why does Tally now view
the cosmetic part of the procedure (not the lesions) as
being bad?
Chapter 37: Amazing
• Why doesn’t Tally tell David about
the pendant? 321-322
• Do you think Tally should tell David
the truth, knowing that David will
leave her alone in the woods and not
let her help try to rescue the other
Smokies if she tells him? Explain.
Chapter 38: Ruin
• What is so ironic about the sentence, “They
smelled the Smoke long before they saw it”? 326
• Why is Tally sad the Smokies left their shoes for
her? 329
• Why did the Specials destroy the library?330
• Why did the Boss sacrifice his life in order to
protect some magazines?
Chapter 39 Maddy and
• There are obvious problems with Tally’s
story of how she got away from the
Specials(335-336); why doesn’t David
figure out what the real story is?
• What evidence is there that Maddy and
Az figured Special Circumstances would
one day find the Smoke?338
Chapter 40: The Oil
• Why is Tally worried that ten days
might be too late to save anyone?
• What was the final straw that
destroyed the Rusties’ civilization?
Chapter 41: Familiar
Why is David afraid they won’t be in time to save his parents? 350
What does David not know that makes him think Shay will forgive
Tally? 352
On pages 354-355, Tally suggests that she liked being “tracked
and monitored and advised every minute of the day” before she
left the city. Why might she have liked that?
Tally and David will have to jump 20 meters above and 20 meters
past the Special Circumstances sensor wire fence. How many feet
is 20 meters? About how many building stories is 20 meters?
Chapter 42: Accomplices
• What does mutinous mean? 306
• What does competent mean? 361
• How long has it been since the Specials took the Smokies?
• Why doesn’t Tally want to admit to the Uglies that the
Smoke has been destroyed? 365
• Why do you think Tally wants these Uglies to create a
• What does this chapter title mean?
Chapter 43: Over the
• What detail shows exactly how much
Tally dislikes eating dehydrated food.
• Why is Tally’s diversion (369) almost
guaranteed to draw out Special
Chapter 44 Inside
• When Tally landed after jumping down the
elevator shaft, why were there voices
from under her feet? 376-377
• What is a morgue?(378)Why didn’t David
want to check it?
• How are doors unlocked in Tally’s city?
Chapter 45:Rescue
• Why was Shay forced to have the
operation? 383
• How does Shay feel about having had
the operation? 383-384
Chapter 46 Getaway
• Why doesn’t Maddy want David to
ride with Tally? 391,385
• If Shay honestly believes she’s
forgiven Tally, why won’t Tally accept
Shay’s forgiveness? 397
Chapter 47: Night Alone
• What is “bogusness” 401
• Explain the title of this chapter.
Chapter 48: Hippocratic
• Why don’t the uglies believe in Special Circumstances? 405406
• What does “bubbly” mean? 408
• After reading Maddy and Shay’s conversation on pages 407411, explain whether or not you agree with Shay’s
contention that Shay has a better life after the operation.
• Do you agree that it is wrong to experiment on Shay?
Chapter 49: Confessions
• Do you think Tally should let Maddy experiment on her?
• If Tally says she wants to have experimental treatment
used on her, but then has her mind literally changed and no
longer wants the experimental treatment, do you think she
should be forced to live with the treatment?
• Do you agree with Maddy that Tally is to blame for Az’s
Chapter 50: Down the
• Why do you think Tally wanted Shay to write down her
contract about wanting the experimental treatment instead
of having Maddy do it?
• What would you change about the ending of this book?
• Are you interested in reading the sequel, Pretties? Why or
why not?