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Specials (Uglies Trilogy)by Scott Westerfeld
Reading Group Guide
by Scott Westerfeld
About the Books
Living in a future where sixteen-year-olds are surgically transformed from "uglies" to "pretties," Tally Youngblood struggles with a choice: to become beautiful and content forever, or to leave the world she knows and keep her own face. Tally's decisions bring her to both locations as well as others she'd never dreamed of, but they also get her in and out of trouble, and force her to grow and change and learn. Westerfeld's books have won many nominations and awards as well as a huge fan following of teens everywhere. Uglies was named a 2006 Best Book for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association.
On your sixteenth birthday, how would you feel about being forced to have the surgery to become pretty? Would you feel like Tally — looking forward to being beautiful and bubbly — or like Shay — wanting to escape the surgery and stay ugly, but remain herself? If your best friend asked you to not have the surgery, what do think you would have chosen to do?
What elements of the Smoke remind you of a camping trip you've taken or one you've seen on TV or in a movie? What advice would you give the Smokies about living in the wild?
Tally has three important guys in her life: Peris, David and Zane. How does her relationship with each of the three effect her decisions at different points in the story? Which of the three do you think made the greatest impact on Tally?
Compare Tally's society with our society today. What are the similarities between Dr. Cable's controls and our own government? Just as Tally and her friends were brought up learning about the failure of the Rusties' society, what lessons can be learned from the future portrayed in the series?
The author created new worlds, new technology and new language for the books. Which location — New Pretty Town, the Smoke, or Diego — would you want to make your home? Which of Tally's futuristic possessions — a hoverboard, a sneak suit, SpagBol — would you like to own? What were your favorite slang words in the series?
What do you think was the pivotal point in each of the three books? What would you change about them?
What are Tally's strongest assets and her tragic flaws? What about Shay? David? Zane?
Is Dr.Cable a protagonist or an antagonist? At what points in the series does she seem more good than evil or more evil than good? Does she have the best interests of the people of Pretty Town at heart or is she simply trying to gain power and prestige?
If the Uglies series was made into a movie, who would you cast to play the part of Tally? Shay? David? Zane? Peris? Dr. Cable? Where in the world do you think it should be filmed? Who would be the best director for this project?
Who was your favorite character in the series? How did you feel about how they ended up at the end of Specials? Which character do you think is the most like you or your friends?
Imagine that David decided to live in the city of Diego. What challenges would he face there, having grown up in the wild? What would a day in the life of David in Diego be like? Do you think he'd get used to his new life, or decide to return to his old one?
Where do you see Tally two years after the end of Specials? How about Shay? Peris? What do you think Pretty Town and Diego would be like two years later?
Design your own hoverboard. First make a blueprint including what kinds of gadgets you would include in its secret compartments, then make a prototype using cardboard, paper towel rolls, markers, etc.
Act out a scene from one of the books. Assign parts to each participant and choose your favorite scene — maybe Tally's first trip to New Pretty Town to visit Peris, the invasion of the Smoke by Special Circumstances, or the destruction of the Armory.
Put a pretty spin on a sport (think about the suspended ice skating rink in Pretties) and come up with your own bubbly rules and regulations.
Put yourself in Dr. Cable's shoes. Take turns telling the Specials story from her point of view and include what you think her motives were behind her actions in the previous two books.
Design your own Smoke fashions, Diego surge or sneak suits. What materials found in the wild could you use to fit in at the Smoke? In Diego, would you have a snake for a pinky? How would you use your sneak suit in your everyday life?
Debate the benefits of Pretty Town versus the Smoke versus Diego. Form three teams — one pro-Diego, one pro-Smoke and one pro-Pretty Town — and discuss the positives and negatives of each.
Look at the covers of Uglies, Pretties and Specials. Then re-draw your own version of each of the covers highlighting your favorite scene from each book.
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