You are considered a "littlie" until age 12. At 12, you move into a boarding school where you will eat, sleep and breath life as an "Ugly", looking forward (and across the river) to age 16 when you can have the operation that makes you a "Pretty" and you can move to Prettytown--and all your troubles are surgically removed along with that too-large nose or too narrow chin. Then you meet someone who challenges this vision of your future--the only vision you've had until now, on the eve of your 16th birthday. What if you must then choose between this new friend and the only dream you've ever had. What if there's a ugly side to being a Pretty--that has nothing to do with how you look?
Uglies is the first in a trilogy that chronicles the adventures of Tally Youngblood as she is introduced to the not-so-perfect side of her utopian world. The series order is: Uglies, Pretties and Specials. For the readers who simply can't get enough of this story, there is now a 4th book in the series, set a few years in the future beyond the point where Specials left off--it's called Extras.
Although these books are 400+ pages, they read so fast that even some of my more reluctant readers are taking a chance on them--and coming back for more.