Tally Youngblood has been looking forward to her 16th birthday for a while now — because that is when she will turn pretty. It’s not a magic spell or a natural coming of age, though. She will be going through major reconstructive surgery to make sure she is the perfect height and weight, that her face has the perfect shape and features, and that her skin is both evenly toned and unblemished. Who could ask for anything more, right? Well, Tally’s new friend Shay has decided that she does not want to have the surgery. Instead, she plans to run away to a settlement called The Smoke. Tally thinks Shay is crazy for not wanting to be a “Pretty” — to actually choose to stay an “Ugly” for the rest of her life — but doesn’t try to stop her. When Shay leaves, she gives Tally some instructions in case she changes her mind and wants to join her in the smoke. This, it seems, was a very bad idea — because a group called Special Circumstances has decided that they will do anything to find (and eliminate) The Smoke… Even if it means forcing Tally to become a spy. Does being a “Pretty” mean so much to Tally that she is willing to turn on her friend (and every other person in The Smoke) — if she actually makes it to The Smoke at all?