Tally has always known how life works. You start out Little. You become an Ugly. When you turn 16, you undergo an operation that turns you into a Pretty. After that, life is good. Tally can’t wait to be Pretty.
But Tally’s new friend, Shay, has other ideas. Before her operation, Shay runs away to the Smoke: a rebel group of those who refuse to undergo the operation.
Threatened by the Smoke, those in charge of Tally’s world–a select few called Specials–offer her an impossible choice: follow the cryptic directions Shay left to the Smoke and turn the rebels over to the Specials, or never be Pretty. Hoping to save Shay, Tally sets out to locate the Smoke. What she finds there forces her to re-learn everything she knew and launches her on an epic fight against the institutionalized conformity that has overtaken her world.