Gorgeous. Popular. Perfect. Perfectly wrong. Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she's completely popular. It's everything she's ever wanted. But beneath all the fun—the nonstop parties, the high-tech... read more
Tally is enjoying life as a new pretty, hoping to be voted into Shay's "Crims" clique, when the party she is at gets crashed by Croy, a Smokie who brings back fading memories of her time in the wild. With the help of Zane, leader of the Crims, Tally follows Croy's instructions to climb a... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Tally is enjoying life as a new pretty, hoping to be voted into Shay's "Crims" clique, when the party she is at gets crashed by Croy, a Smokie who brings back fading memories of her time in the wild. With the help of Zane, leader of the Crims, Tally follows Croy's instructions to climb a building and retrieve something, and the adrenalin of the climb and of falling for Zane helps her to remember the Smoke in much more detail. At the top of the climb, Tally retrieves two pills - the cure for the pretty brain lesions - and panics about taking them. To avoid detection before the Specials arrive, Tally and Zane agree to split the cure, each taking one of the pills.
The pills quickly cure the pair of them, although they are affected differently, with Zane's cure apparently more effective, but having the side effect of crippling headaches. Suspicious of Tally's unusual behaviour, the Specials fit her and Zane with tracking cuffs, which spy on them constantly and thwart their plans to escape together to the New Smoke. However, they still encourage the other Crims to make themselves "bubbly" with adrenalin and caffeine, both of which help to combat the affect of the lesions. This culminates in a prank which results in all the Crims falling onto a football field during the pre-game fireworks, making the clique famous.
The prank also has some unintended consequences. With the adrenalin rush, Shay remembers Tally's betrayal of the Smoke and breaks off their friendship. The prank also attracts the attention of Dr Cable, who offers Tally a job as a Special, which Tally strongly refuses. Several days later, Tally and Zane decide to journey into Uglytown to try and contact the New Smoke, and meet up with Sussy and Dex, uglies who helped Tally break the Smokies out of Special Circumstances. Sussy and Dex inform Tally and Zane that the New Smoke has recently returned to the Rusty Ruins, and then take them to see Shay, who, with some other Crims, has formed a clique based around self-harm, which she calls the Cutters.
Suddenly, Zane collapses from one of his headaches, and Tally insists on taking him to the hospital, although they mask their real reason for going there. Zane realises that he desperately needs Maddy's help to cure himself, and threatens to use an industrial tool to remove the cuff, in spite of the risk it would destroy his entire arm. Just before he can go through with the plan, Tally realises that they could use heat to expand the cuffs and remove them. The Crims steal a hot air balloon and Tally and Zane use heat proof gloves to remove the cuffs safely before jumping from the balloon with hoverboards. Tally, the last to jump, is distracted by Peris who has changed his mind about escaping, and chooses to stay, is too late to jump over the city's metal grid.
Instead, she jumps over a river, and lands safely but breaks her hoverboard in the process. Walking through the forest, she is shocked to discover a pre-Rusty tribe living there, existing in a state of constant warfare with nearby tribes and viewing pretties as gods. She befriends the tribe's holy man, Andrew Simpson Smith, and realises that the group is an anthropology project used to study violence and test the effectiveness of the pretty lesions on a violent mind. Tally encourages Andrew Simpson Smith to escape from the boundaries set for him, and to ignore the false gods, and with his help she steals the hovercraft of a visiting pretty scientist and flies to the Rusty Ruins.
At the Rusty Ruins, Tally is met by David, an awkward reunion as she reacts instinctively to his unsurged face. As they travel to the New Smoke together, Tally becomes increasingly conflicted between her old feelings for David and her new feelings for Zane. When they arrive, she learns that Zane has suffered severe damage from the nanorobots in the cure, which Tally's pill was intended to stop from happening - Tally's pill in fact had no effect on the lesions whatsoever, and the cure she experienced was self-motivated. Fortunately, the damage is not permanent, and Tally resolves to help Zane recover.
However, the Smokies suddenly realise a tracking signal has been activated, which is hidden inside Zane's tooth with no chance of removal. The New Smoke must move on, leaving Zane behind, and Tally insists on staying with him, realising that she truly loves him and needs to help him recover. David feels hurt by this, and tries to making her leave, accusing her of choosing Zane merely for his looks, so Tally insults him to make him leave her behind. The Specials arrive, with Shay and the Cutters having been turned into a new clique of Specials, and Shay informs Tally that, rather than return to her pretty life, Tally will become Special.
“Left alone, human beings are a plague. They multiply relentlessly, consuming every resource, destroying everything they touch”
“What happens when perfection isn't good enough?”
“..humanity is a disease, a cancer on the body of the world”
“Get your ugly face out of here!”Tally
“Bubbly is bogus.”Zane
“its so bubbly!”phrase used by pretties
“...her hangover, which was sprawled in her head like an overweight cat, sullen and squishy and disinclined to budge.”author
“You didn't need an operation to make you stuck up and full of yourself. You already were!”Shay
I. Part One: Sleeping Beauty
7. Valentino 317
8. The High Tower
9. Note to Self
II. Part Two: The Cure
3. Party Crash
4. The Dragon
13. The City's Edge
III. Part Three: Outside
4. Young Blood
6. Food of the Gods
7. The Edge of the World
8. Holy Day
9. The Ruins
11. Damage Control
12. Cold Water
15. Bogus Dreams
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