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Themes

Friendship is the flip side of loneliness: when you have people you can talk to and pull pranks with, you feel less lonely. (And let's be clear: no one in Uglies wants to be a hermit—everyone wants friends. Even the people who ran away to the woods—Maddy and Az—want other people to hang out with.) But as sometimes happens when people grow up, friendships change. It's an unfortunate truth that some of your ugly best friends might not be your best friends when they become pretty (at least, that's true if your name is Tally). Which raises one serious question: why are these characters friends in the first place?

Questions About Friendship

  1. When do friendships break or get strained and why? What's a worse crime against friendship in Shay's eyes: when Tally betrays the Smoke or when Tally gets involved with David? What about Peris and Tally? Is their friendship strained?
  2. Are there any friendships in this book that seem unhealthy? Are there examples of dangerous peer pressure? Are there friendships where one "friend" mistreats or bullies someone else?
  3. Are there any characters who want to be totally left alone? Are there characters who don't seem to have friends? Do you think Sol and Ellie are (or have) friends? What about Dr. Cable?
  4. Tally's scarred hand is a symbol of friendship (we think). Are there other symbols of friendship? What about the gloves that David gives Tally?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Friends have to be equal. That's why pretty Peris can't really be friends with ugly Tally.

In Uglies, friends are an important part of life, but finding your own identity is more important.

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