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Uglies (Uglies Series #1)

Uglies (Uglies Series #1)

4.4 2081
by Scott Westerfeld, Rodrigo Corral (Designed by)

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Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be


Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world -- and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Tally is about to turn sixteen—the most important birthday in her life. It is at age sixteen that residents of Uglyville cross over into New Pretty Town and their unattractive physical attributes are replaced to make them drop-dead gorgeous. Just before she is about to have her operations, Tally meets Shay, another Uglie about to reach the magic age of sixteen. However Shay is different; she is not convinced that being ugly is all that bad. Shay ultimately decides to run away and join a group of renegades who are resisting the authorities, leaving Tally to await her operations. Unfortunately, the authorities suspect Tally of assisting Shay's defection and refuse her operation until she betrays her friend. Author Scott Westerfeld has created a thought-provoking science fiction novel that begs to be discussed. 2005, Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster, Ages 14 up.
—Deborah Taylor
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Tally Youngblood lives in a futuristic society that acculturates its citizens to believe that they are ugly until age 16 when they'll undergo an operation that will change them into pleasure-seeking "pretties." Anticipating this happy transformation, Tally meets Shay, another female ugly, who shares her enjoyment of hoverboarding and risky pranks. But Shay also disdains the false values and programmed conformity of the society and urges Tally to defect with her to the Smoke, a distant settlement of simple-living conscientious objectors. Tally declines, yet when Shay is found missing by the authorities, Tally is coerced by the cruel Dr. Cable to find her and her compatriots-or remain forever "ugly." Tally's adventuresome spirit helps her locate Shay and the Smoke. It also attracts the eye of David, the aptly named youthful rebel leader to whose attentions Tally warms. However, she knows she is living a lie, for she is a spy who wears an eye-activated locator pendant that threatens to blow the rebels' cover. Ethical concerns will provide a good source of discussion as honesty, justice, and free will are all oppressed in this well-conceived dystopia. Characterization, which flirts so openly with the importance of teen self-concept, is strong, and although lengthy, the novel is highly readable with a convincing plot that incorporates futuristic technologies and a disturbing commentary on our current public policies. Fortunately, the cliff-hanger ending promises a sequel.-Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
With a beginning and ending that pack hefty punches, this introduction to a dystopic future promises an exciting series. Tally is almost 16 and breathlessly eager: On her birthday, like everyone else, she'll undergo extensive surgery to become a Pretty. She's only known life as an Ugly (everyone's considered hideous before surgery), whereas after she "turns," she'll have the huge eyes, perfect skin, and new bone structure that biology and evolution have determined to be objectively beautiful. New Pretties party all day long. But when friend Shay escapes to join a possibly mythical band of outsiders avoiding surgery, Tally follows-not from choice but because the secret police force her. Tally inflicts betrayal after betrayal, which dominates the theme for the midsection; by the end, the nature of this dystopia is front and center and Tally-trying to set things right-takes a stunning leap of faith. Some heavy-handedness, but the awesome ending thrills with potential. (Science fiction. YA)

Product Details

Simon Pulse
Publication date:
Uglies Series , #1
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.20(d)
770L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

From Part 1: Turning Pretty

Is it not good to make society full

of beautiful people?

—Yang Yuan, quoted in The New York Times

New Pretty Town

The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit.

Of course, Tally thought, you'd have to feed your cat only salmon-flavored cat food for a while, to get the pinks right. The scudding clouds did look a bit fishy, rippled into scales by a high-altitude wind. As the light faded, deep blue gaps of night peered through like an upside-down ocean, bottomless and cold.

Any other summer, a sunset like this would have been beautiful. But nothing had been beautiful since Peris turned pretty. Losing your best friend sucks, even if it's only for three months and two days.

Tally Youngblood was waiting for darkness.

She could see New Pretty Town through her open window. The party towers were already lit up, and snakes of burning torches marked flickering pathways through the pleasure gardens. A few hot-air balloons pulled at their tethers against the darkening pink sky, their passengers shooting safety fireworks at other balloons and passing parasailers. Laughter and music skipped across the water like rocks thrown with just the right spin, their edges just as sharp against Tally's nerves.

Around the outskirts of the city, cut off from town by the black oval of the river, everything was in darkness. Everyone ugly was in bed by now.

Tally took off her interface ring and said, "Good night."

"Sweet dreams, Tally," said the room.

She chewed up a toothbrush pill, punched her pillows, and shoved an old portable heater — one that produced about as much warmth as a sleeping, Tally-size human being — under the covers.

Then she crawled out the window.

Outside, with the night finally turning coal black above her head, Tally instantly felt better. Maybe this was a stupid plan, but anything was better than another night awake in bed feeling sorry for herself. On the familiar leafy path down to the water's edge, it was easy to imagine Peris stealing silently behind her, stifling laughter, ready for a night of spying on the new pretties. Together. She and Peris had figured out how to trick the house minder back when they were twelve, when the three-month difference in their ages seemed like it would never matter.

"Best friends for life," Tally muttered, fingering the tiny scar on her right palm.

The water glistened through the trees, and she could hear the wavelets of a passing river skimmer's wake slapping at the shore. She ducked, hiding in the reeds. Summer was always the best time for spying expeditions. The grass was high, it was never cold, and you didn't have to stay awake through school the next day.

Of course, Peris could sleep as late as he wanted now. Just one of the advantages of being pretty.

The old bridge stretched massively across the water, its huge iron frame as black as the sky. It had been built so long ago that it held up its own weight, without any support from hoverstruts. A million years from now, when the rest of the city had crumbled, the bridge would probably remain like a fossilized bone.

Unlike the other bridges into New Pretty Town, the old bridge couldn't talk — or report trespassers, more importantly. But even silent, the bridge had always seemed very wise to Tally, as quietly knowing as some ancient tree.

Her eyes were fully adjusted to the darkness now, and it took only seconds to find the fishing line tied to its usual rock. She yanked it, and heard the splash of the rope tumbling from where it had been hidden among the bridge supports. She kept pulling until the invisible fishing line turned into wet, knotted cord. The other end was still tied to the iron framework of the bridge. Tally pulled the rope taut and lashed it to the usual tree.

She had to duck into the grass once more as another river skimmer passed. The people dancing on its deck didn't spot the rope stretched from bridge to shore. They never did. New pretties were always having too much fun to notice little things out of place.

When the skimmer's lights had faded, Tally tested the rope with her whole weight. One time it had pulled loose from the tree, and both she and Peris had swung downward, then up and out over the middle of the river before falling off, tumbling into the cold water. She smiled at the memory, realizing she would rather be on that expedition — soaking wet in the cold with Peris — than dry and warm tonight, but alone.

Hanging upside down, hands and knees clutching the knots along the rope, Tally pulled herself up into the dark framework of the bridge, then stole through its iron skeleton and across to New Pretty Town.

She knew where Peris lived from the one message he had bothered to send since turning pretty. Peris hadn't given an address, but Tally knew the trick for decoding the random-looking numbers at the bottom of a ping. They led to someplace called Garbo Mansion in the hilly part of town.

Getting there was going to be tricky. In their expeditions, Tally and Peris had always stuck to the waterfront, where vegetation and the dark backdrop of Uglyville made it easy to hide. But now Tally was headed into the center of the island, where floats and revelers populated the bright streets all night. Brand-new pretties like Peris always lived where the fun was most frantic.

Tally had memorized the map, but if she made one wrong turn, she was toast. Without her interface ring, she was invisible to vehicles. They'd just run her down like she was nothing.

Of course, Tally was nothing here.

Worse, she was ugly. But she hoped Peris wouldn't see it that way. Wouldn't see her that way.

Tally had no idea what would happen if she got caught. This wasn't like being busted for "forgetting" her ring, skipping classes, or tricking the house into playing her music louder than allowed. Everyone did that kind of stuff, and everyone got busted for it. But she and Peris had always been very careful about not getting caught on these expeditions. Crossing the river was serious business.

It was too late to worry now, though. What could they do to her, anyway? In three months she'd be a pretty herself.

Tally crept along the river until she reached a pleasure garden, and slipped into the darkness beneath a row of weeping willows. Under their cover she made her way alongside a path lit by little guttering flames.

A pretty couple wandered down the path. Tally froze, but they were clueless, too busy staring into each other's eyes to see her crouching in the darkness. Tally silently watched them pass, getting that warm feeling she always got from looking at a pretty face. Even when she and Peris used to spy on them from the shadows, giggling at all the stupid things the pretties said and did, they couldn't resist staring. There was something magic in their large and perfect eyes, something that made you want to pay attention to whatever they said, to protect them from any danger, to make them happy. They were so...pretty.

The two disappeared around the next bend, and Tally shook her head to clear the mushy thoughts away. She wasn't here to gawk. She was an infiltrator, a sneak, an ugly. And she had a mission.

The garden stretched up into town, winding like a black river through the bright party towers and houses. After a few more minutes of creeping, she startled a couple hidden among the trees (it was a pleasure garden, after all), but in the darkness they couldn't see her face, and only teased her as she mumbled an apology and slipped away. She hadn't seen too much of them, either, just a tangle of perfect legs and arms.

Finally, the garden ended, a few blocks from where Peris lived.

Tally peered out from behind a curtain of hanging vines. This was farther than she and Peris had ever been together, and as far as her planning had taken her. There was no way to hide herself in the busy, well-lit streets. She put her fingers up to her face, felt the wide nose and thin lips, the too-high forehead and tangled mass of frizzy hair. One step out of the underbrush and she'd be spotted. Her face seemed to burn as the light touched it. What was she doing here? She should be back in the darkness of Uglyville, awaiting her turn.

But she had to see Peris, had to talk to him. She wasn't quite sure why, exactly, except that she was sick of imagining a thousand conversations with him every night before she fell asleep. They'd spent every day together since they were littlies, and now...nothing. Maybe if they could just talk for a few minutes, her brain would stop talking to imaginary Peris. Three minutes might be enough to hold her for three months.

Tally looked up and down the street, checking for side yards to slink through, dark doorways to hide in. She felt like a rock climber facing a sheer cliff, searching for cracks and handholds.

The traffic began to clear a little, and she waited, rubbing the scar on her right palm. Finally, Tally sighed and whispered, "Best friends forever," and took a step forward into the light.

An explosion of sound came from her right, and she leaped back into the darkness, stumbling among the vines, coming down hard on her knees in the soft earth, certain for a few seconds that she'd been caught.

But the cacophony organized itself into a throbbing rhythm. It was a drum machine making its lumbering way down the street. Wide as a house, it shimmered with the movement of its dozens of mechanical arms, bashing away at every size of drum. Behind it trailed a growing bunch of revelers, dancing along with the beat, drinking and throwing their empty bottles to shatter against the huge, impervious machine.

Tally smiled. The revelers were wearing masks.

The machine was lobbing the masks out the back, trying to coax more followers into the impromptu parade: devil faces and horrible clowns, green monsters and gray aliens with big oval eyes, cats and dogs and cows, faces with crooked smiles or huge noses.

The procession passed slowly, and Tally pulled herself back into the vegetation. A few of the revelers passed close enough that the sickly sweetness from their bottles filled her nose. A minute later, when the machine had trundled half a block farther, Tally jumped out and snatched up a discarded mask from the street. The plastic was soft in her hand, still warm from having been stamped into shape inside the machine a few seconds before.

Before she pressed it against her face, Tally realized that it was the same color as the cat-vomit pink of the sunset, with a long snout and two pink little ears. Smart adhesive flexed against her skin as the mask settled onto her face.

Tally pushed her way through the drunken dancers, out the other side of the procession, and ran down a side street toward Garbo Mansion, wearing the face of a pig.

Text copyright © 2005 by Scott Westerfeld

Meet the Author

Scott Westerfeld is the author of the Leviathan series, the first book of which was the winner of the 2010 Locus Award for Best Young Adult Fiction. His other novels include the New York Times bestseller Afterworlds, the worldwide bestselling Uglies series, The Last Days, Peeps, So Yesterday, and the Midnighters trilogy. Visit him at ScottWesterfeld.com or follow him on Twitter at @ScottWesterfeld.

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Uglies (Uglies Series #1) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2081 reviews.
Ishy More than 1 year ago
Honestly, I'm the kind of girl who loves Harry Potter, Star Trek, Star Wars, and anything else fantasy and otherwise. So when I saw the cover of this book and the title, I outwardly laughed at the idiocy! But after much persuasion from my friends and countless begging, I picked it up. I was amazed at the fact that A) This is a Sci-Fi B) It's about false utopias and C) It's good! The story is unique and compelling. The ideas are challenging and thought provoking and, without giving too much away, the relationship junk (my opinions are mine) isn't the main focus, but instead a great add in and is sufficient to those hopeless romantics (which believe it or not, I am). The author, although male, proves to be able to write brilliantly in the teenage girl voice that even many female writers cannot master. I give this book an A+ for the stupendous ability to capture a harsh critic like myself.
bookworm_157 More than 1 year ago
I have read this book and the rest of this series several times. And each time I find or realize something new about the characters or the plot. It keeps you guessing no matter how many times you read it. The basic story is it is set in the future and when you turn 16 you go under the knife and be changed from an ugly to a pretty. This book follows a trouble making uglie's journey before her surgery. Makes new friends and enemies. And not only is this book good but the entire series is good! I reccomend this to anyone in need of a good book to read!!
Amaya713 More than 1 year ago
Whenever I saw this book a while back, I never wanted to read it because the title sounded so preppy and shallow. I would have expected the book to be more of a "girly" book about beauty, boys, etc. etc. However, there's way more to this book that meets the eye.

Once I started reading, I was hooked. This book tells the story about a future world where everyone becomes "pretty" on their sixteenth birthday. It was intriguing to read about such a society that focuses solely on image. It really makes you think about how we see beauty today. So many things had changed from our modern world-- it was interesting to think about.
The plot and characters were also superb. The main character is Tally, an "ugly" who can't wait to turn pretty. But then she meets Shay. Shay is another ugly who isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She opens Tally's eyes to a whole new world, and Tally is thrust headfirst into it. The characters continue to interest you throughout the story and the plot keeps you at the edge of your seat.

Overall, I would wholeheartedly reccommend this book, especially to teen readers. Despite the seemingly superficial title, this book actually has some strong morals and themes. Just goes to show, don't judge a book by it's cover (or title, in this case) ;-)
Kylee-in-CT More than 1 year ago
I originally became aware of this series (Uglies, Pretties, Specials & Extras) because of my daughter. She was 12 at the time and a little young for the books, I thought. Now that I have finally read the start of the series, I think that belief was unfounded. When I hear that a book is categorized as Young Adult I automatically think 14+.

SV, my 14 (almost 15) year old read the first three in the series this past summer. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Tally, Shay David, Croy and all the rest. There world is our world... 300 or so years later. The "ruins" are our cities - crumbled, burned, destroyed. There is a definite message to us, now, in Uglies. We need to stop living like "What I do doesn't matter to anyone but me".

As far as the "operation" that everyone has when they turn 16 (everyone except those that have conviction enough to runaway) that scares me. There is already a belief in this country that it's okay to give your children plastic surgery for a high school graduation gift or even a 16th birthday present. I won't go on about how wrong I think this is.

There is a total cliffhanger ending to Uglies. I am finding it hard to NOT pick up Pretties which is now sitting in my bookcase since I thieved it from my 14 year old daughter's bookcase. =)
Avid_Reader101 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It is awsome! I related to Tally so much. Me being a girl and having to be presurred by super model gorgeuseness. This book helped me realize that if you be who you are nothing can stop you. Stand up for what you believe in and whats right. Tally Youngblood is a smart determined girl to turn pretty.But when one of her friends doesn't want to turn pretty she starts questioning what it will actually mean to be pretty, other than the non-stop fun and parties. I think Tally is a girl to look up to. In the end, Tally makes a decision that does and will change her life forever. Read this book! It keeps people at the edge of there seats! Once i picked it up i couldn't put it down. It is adventures and said 'crap' here and there and had pleasure gardens and kissing but nothing graphic and nothing to into deteail. I recommend for girls ages 10-14. Tally is beautiful at heart.
Annibebe More than 1 year ago
Scott Westerfeld has a brilliant imagination. This book was a page turner and left me wanting more. Thank God there are sequels. I can't wait to see what happens when Tally becomes "pretty"! Highly recommended for teens and adults.
Suzie_Q More than 1 year ago
Scott Westerfeld's novel, Uglies, is about what things could be like after we harm our environment on Earth too much. Don't be fooled thinking this is a book only warning us about global warming, however. Tally Youngblood will soon turn sixteen, the age she's been waiting for her entire life. At the age of sixteen, people finally get to have the operation that will make them pretty. However, she will soon learn from a new friend, Shay, that there are risks no one know about when getting the operation. Below is a quote of Shay and Tally talking about the advantages and disadvantages of getting the operation: "Shay! Come on. it's just for fun." "Making ourselves feel ugly is not fun." "We are ugly!" "This whole game is just designed to make us hate ourselves." Tally groaned and flopped back onto her bed, glaring up at the ceiling. Shay could be so weird sometimes. She always had a chip on her shoulder about the operation, like someone was making her turn sixteen. "Right, and things were so great back when everyone was ugly. or did you miss that day in school?" "Yeah, yeah, I know," Shay recited. "Everyone judged everyone else based on their appearance. People who were taller got better jobs, and people even voted for some politicians just because they weren't quite as ugly as everybody else. Blah, blah, blah." "Yeah, and people killed one another over stuff like having different skin color." Tally shook her head. No matter how many times they repeated it at school, she'd never quite believed that one. "So what if people look more alike now? It's the only way to make people equal." Scott Westerfeld dives into a new world about deception, knowledge, and what true friendship really is. The book is very well done. Westerfeld makes up his own new words like "Rusties" and "Smokies" but he does an excellent job at describing what his new terms are. Uglies will keep you on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what happens next in this adventurous and suspenseful book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book i must say is amazing gives a true idea of its mot always so bright on the other side ; D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great romance, action book for teens. Im 11 and i still love the series. Just finished the third book. The storys get twisted and r just awesome. I highly reccomnd the series!!
chelsey More than 1 year ago
This was a really good book! It was so good i read all the series! It yiu like adventures and thrilling books you'll like this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the free sample and i can't put it down. I have to know whats next. ( :?) Ugly )
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read all the books...... so much better than Twilight.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book Uglies by Scott Westerfeld is a good book,i give it 5/5 stars. I like the fact that Tally goes through betrayals and side changes. The problems Tally faces are realistic,like when she has to chose to go or to stay at the Smoke. This book also has loveable characters, like the wild david. The story begins with the main charicter,Tally, sneaks into New Pretty Town to ser her old freind Peris. She meest a nother ugly Shay there. When Shay runs away a organazation calls Tally in to help find her. She gois to a place called The Smoke and meast David. She is forced to make a decision,stay with David in the smoke or go back to the city and become a pretty. In This book Tlly learns that sometimes o follow your heart,you have to break the rules. This applied to me when m parnest wanted to get rid of my gold fish. When i found out i hid him under my bed for 3 days. When my parents found out i got in trouble. I would recomend this book to people 12- younger people wouldn't understand, and older people wouldn't care about this book. This book has plenty of action,like when Tally and the smoke is atacked my the specals. This book also has some romance, like when Tally and David kiss. In conclution thid book has a ending that will leave you breathless.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello. I'm back! I'm that 13 year old girl a while back that said she wasn't sure about the book. Well guess what? IT WAS AWESOME!!! It really brought me into the story. Very well written. I will warn you though, the beginning is a bit slow, but that is only to get you to know the characters better. So don't be put down trust me, you will want to keep reading! Oh! If you're wondering about my independant book project... I GOT AN A- !!! WHOO- HOOO! XD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so amazing. Evertime i finish it, i re- read it. BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to read this book for a reading class and it is really good so far.
Algonquins More than 1 year ago
I put off reading Uglies for the longest time because I thought the plot of the book sounded completely stupid. I couldn't have been more wrong however because I couldn't put it down from the moment I started reading. This was a book I seriously misjudged. It had a lot more depth than I thought it would. The characters were very dynamic with a lot of personality and Scott Westerfeld kept the story moving with a lot of fun and exciting fast paced action and he had some great descriptions of the "Pretty Procedure" that grabbed me as well. Uglies is a dystopian novel that is a little bit different from all the other ones on the market. It's not about a war-torn society trying to rebuild. It's about taking down a society that is perfectly happy and idyllic. Westerfeld has created a world that is absolutely perfect and with some really great writing created a heroine who sets out to deconstruct it. This book is definitely worth a read, it's a great story that is a lot of fun and also scary at times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My power went out one day so i decided to go to the library and pick book to read. Well i ended uo choosing uglies and im sooooooooo glad i did. I read it in less than one day and it was absolutely amazing and suspenseful. The whole trilogy was great. I recommend this for people who like books such as matched, the giver, the hunger games and maze runner. Its definintly a distopian society book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely amazing series!!!  No really, the Uglies trilogy is my favorite. Better than the hunger games. Or at least on par with it. It sounds kind of stupid at first but is so amaing when you actually read it. I mean I'm not some teenager- I'm 25- and I love this story. Its very thought provoking, the relationships are real, and its not hard to imagine our world falling apart from our own greed. The points they make about racism and the way we treat people by what they look like is very true. As well as the pollution  and wastfulness we all contribute to. This book makes a powerful message without really meaning to. Plus its very Sci Fi and unlike most dysotopian books which have the new world in ruins, this one is very high tech and advanced. Totally intriguing. All around amazing. Loved it!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This great book has action, drama, romance, suspense, twists and turns that will leave you hanging to that slight ledge the author gives you. The most amazing book i've read in a long time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This topic was unique. It wasn't over used. I haven't heard the same story line a million times. What other book have you read that people live in a society when they turn sixteen they become pretty and until they don't even matter to the rest of society? Exactly, none!
Norma-J More than 1 year ago
I bought this aas a gift for a teen, but dipped into it, and HAD to finish reading!
littlemonkey18 More than 1 year ago
THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!!! It is well written and is one of the best science fiction i have ever read!! It is exciting and very very good!!! It is about how being ugly isn't always bad just like being pretty isn't always good!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
... There are no words to say ...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First of all, from the cover to the name I defienetly thought this would be just some high school drama so I laughed and put the book back. But after seeing how popular it got, this couldn't be drama. So I picked it up and took a risk to this new series. Oh wow! Amazing how much action and detail there is! I love action and romance and this book has it. If you like divergent or hunger games or harry potter then you'll love this book. Its the perfect distopia book and you will fall in love with the characters. Tally alsohas some personal choices that lefts me dumb founded on what I would choose. Being rich, pretty, and luxorious but having no mind or freedom or being ugly, camping, always hiding but being free and smart. Lots of stars on this book and the whole series!