Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher: Simon Pulse, Pg 384
Publication Date: May 9, 2006
Series: Uglies #3
The six hoverboards slipped among the trees with the lightning grace of playing cards thrown flat and spinning. The riders ducked and weaved among ice-heavy branches, laughing, knees bent and arms outstretched. In their wake glowed a crystal rain, tiny icicles shaken from the pine needles to fall behind, aflame with moonlight.
The Uglies series is set at least 3 centuries in the future, after current civilization was destroyed by a bacterium which de-established all petroleum products, causing widespread chaos. The survivors of this disaster established cities much smaller than those currently existing, each of which is independently governed with limited traveling. At the age of sixteen, each person undergoes an operation which boosts their immune system and reflexes while giving them well-proportioned, symmetrical faces based on an international standard, so that all pretties look nearly identical. They are also given brain lessons which make them peaceful and compliant. Before they receive the operation, children are referred to as "uglies", and are kept separate from their older friends. Later operations follow to show signs of increasing age while maintaining this beauty, and the lesions may be removed for pretties entering careers which require quick thinking. Pretties who work for Special Circumstances, a group which ensures the city's security are given an operation to make them look terrifying, become very strong and fast, and have incredibly fast reflexes. Specials also receive brain surgery to make them obedient.