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Written by Katherine Li
Tally Youngblood, the protagonist of the novel, just turned Pretty and joined a sought-after clique called Crims. Due to the lesions inflicted on her brain by the doctors on purpose during her transformation, part of her old memories are lost. The lesions are a method for the government to make its subjects easier to control. She forgot what happened in the Smoke and why she turned her self in to become a Pretty until a message from the Smoke reached her, providing her with an untested cure for her brain lesions. Along with her boyfriend, they took the risk of becoming brain dead by taking the untested cure and went on a journey to look for the New Smoke. Tally is a resilient and courageous character who refuses to bow down to the authorities and just accept the way things are. She is also very loyal and refuse to leave Zane behind when the authorities finally came for them.
Zane is the leader of the Crims, Tally's boyfriend. Unlike the other vapid and lazy Pretties, he is sharp, strong, and intelligent. He is adventurous but is also great at making plans. Even before the message from the Smoke came to Tally, he already suspected that something is wrong with all of the Pretties. The message confirmed his suspicions, so he took the cure with Tally and escaped the New Pretty Town together. The authorities eventually discovered the location of the Smoke through a tracker they implanted in his tooth. The cure made him physically less functional in the end and he fears being rendered helpless and weak.
Shay is one of Tally's best friends, who met her when they were both Uglies sneaking over to New Pretty Town. However, their differences grew when Shay grew jealous of Tally's popularity and how fast she gained Zane's favor. She knew that Tally and Zane had secrets which made her feel excluded. Wanting to become bubbly just like them, Shay created her own clique called the Cutters and went to extreme measures to keep her mind sharp. Eventually, she was recruited by Dr. Cable to become an exclusive member of the Specials along with the rest of the Cutters. At the conclusion of this novel, she tries to reconcile with Tally and tries to convince Tally that being turned in to a Special feels marvelous.
David is Tally's ex-boyfriend, and is the leader of the Smokies. The two first engaged in a relationship in the first novel The Uglies when Tally traveled to the Smoke to find Shay. He is a less significant character in this novel and only appeared at the end when the authorities discovered the Smokies. He tried to convince Tally to leave Zane and escape with them, but she would not. Fearing for David's safety, Tally called him "ugly" to provoke his anger so that he would escape without her. He successfully escaped and became a major character in the third novel of this series, Specials.
She is the antagonist of the novel, a high-level government official in charge of conducting transformation surgeries. In her views, allowing humans to regain intelligence would make them greedy and ungovernable, and consequently lead to the destruction of nature just like during the Rusty times. As the villain of the story, she planted the tracker in Zane's tooth to cause his headaches on purpose so that he would find the New Smoke. She is also the person who offered to turned Shay and the cutters into Specials, an offer they accepted. Eventually, it is implied at the end of this novel that Tally and Fausto will also be turned into a Special after their capture by Dr. Cable.
Peris is one of Tally's best friends and they have know each other since they were Littlies. Being older than Tally, he was turned into a Pretty and joined the Crims before her. However, Peris is significantly less adventurous and courageous than Tally and preferred a life of comfort and ease. He enjoys occasional thrills and being bubbly but is not brave enough to actually put himself in danger or get into any real trouble. When the Crims are planning to escaped New Pretty Town by air balloons, Peris went along with the plan. But when the time actually comes, he still chickened out refused to follow the rest of them into the wild, and was consequently left behind.
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