Tally has now been turned into a Pretty and has to attend a party. She finds Croy, a Smokie, at the party under cover in the Special Circumstances division. Tally attempts to follow him after he reveals he has left something for her, but she gets into a physical encounter and ends up with her head bleeding out. As a result of her, ‘bubbly’ move, she is voted into Crims, an elite clique of Pretties.
She then meets another Smokie, Zane, who informs her of the Smoke organization. She develops feelings for him and he for her. She tells him of what Croy told her, and the two attempt to find the object he hid. She finds it and sees that it is a letter from herself, which she wrote before she did the operation. The letter tells her to take two pills to clear her mind from being Pretty.
Shay and Tally also meet and end up in an argument. She later finds out that Shay has formed her own clique called the Cutters. Tally and Zane then go to find Sussy and Dex, Uglies that she knew before she became a Pretty. Zane and Tally manage to escape via hover board. However, she does not make it to the New Smoke headquarters and instead lands in a primitive location where the people view her as a God because she is so beautiful to them. She meets a guide, Andrew, who journeys with her to the New Smoke.
During her journey, she realizes that villages are being forced operations upon them and being treated violently. Tally then begins to question whether the Pretty surgery is so bad after all since it does keep the worlds violence and cruelty away.
Tally then reaches the New Smoke, where they inform her that she should have taken the two pills together for the cure to work. The fact that she didn’t means that she was able to cure herself in order to cure herself from being a Pretty.
Zane has had a tracker put into him and so to save the New Smoke she decides to stay with him and let then Special forces arrive. She sees that Shay has been changed into a Special. Zane and Tally are taken away.