This whole game is just designed to make us hate ourselves.

–Shay, Uglies

Shay is the deuteragonist of the Uglies trilogy. She befriends Tally Youngblood in the first novel but shares an increasingly complicated friendship with her throughout the series. First best friends, Shay feels deeply betrayed when Tally unintentionally steals David's affection and causes the Smoke to be destroyed. Her anger at Tally never fully goes away.

Biography Edit

Uglies: Shay's Story Edit

Main article: Shay's Story

Shay is a fifteen-year-old ugly playing around on her hoverboard when she meets Zane, also fifteen and ugly, who sees her fall and comes to help, and after a brief discussion, she's made an official Crim. Shay, who's never been to New Pretty Town before, notes that all the naked Pretties looked pretty much the same. She thinks to herself that the "rough bits" the operation gets rid of are the best parts of people. She thinks that the surgeries make everybody the same and they take out the special things people had before.

The next day Shay is pulled off her dorm's hoverboard team as punishment for sneaking into New Pretty Town. She immediately calls Zane with an idea to get their boards out of town without the wardens being alerted. Outside the city, they meet an ugly who leads them into the Rusty Ruins to meet David. David teaches all of them about wilderness survival and Rusty history before telling them about the Smoke - a semi-permanent camp for people who don't want to get the Operation.

Shay takes pictures with a tiny camera she wears as a necklace as David shows the group a map and discusses their route to get to the Smoke. David slips a note in Shay's pocket as they all prepare to turn in for the night, though she doesn't find it until the night they're supposed to leave. In the note, David says that he knows Shay is in love with him, and that he doesn't want her to give up everything just for him. He urges her to stay and get the Operation like she's supposed to. Furious, Shay throws her backpack across the room and turns out the light.

The next morning Shay finds that all her friends except for Zane left with David the night before. Zane pretends not to know her until they can meet someplace secret, where he tells her that he has to get the Operation when he turns sixteen. He won't explain, except to say that "Special Circumstances is real."

Six weeks later Shay decides to find Zane in New Pretty Town and find the Smoke with him, using the pictures she took of the route. Their talk doesn't go well, and Shay gives up and decides to return home. On her way back Shay meets Tally Youngblood, and the two quickly become friends. Shay tries to introduce Tally to David and convince her that being Pretty is overrated, but when the time comes Tally opts to stay in Uglyville while Shay runs away to the Smoke. Shay leaves Tally coded instructions, then heads out with David's new group of runaways.

In the Smoke, Shay works hard to make up for chickening out the first time she was supposed to leave. After a while, David starts to warm up to her, and the two share a kiss. The very next day Tally arrives at the Smoke and meets David for the first time. David is angry with Shay for leaving Tally instructions that put her in danger, and Shay is angry with her friends for thinking that Tally is there as a spy. When David suddenly stops spending time with Shay and starts spending time with Tally instead, Shay decides that it's because she worked so hard to defend her friend. She confronts Tally, and the two argue about Tally's mysterious new heart locket. Tally promises to tell David about it, and they leave it at that.

The next morning Shay notices that Tally wasn't at breakfast. A moment later Specials storm the Smoke, taking everyone captive. Shay realizes that the two things must be connected, and when Tally is thrown in the rabbit pen with her Shay shouts at her and accuses her of betraying them. Tally is taken away to see Dr. Cable, and Shay is taken shortly after. Dr. Cable thanks Shay for her part in leading Special Circumstances to the Smoke, and promises that she'll "come out of this very, very pretty."

The book closes on a picture of Shay waking up after her Operation.

Uglies: Cutters Edit

Main article: Cutters (manga)

Shay has been living in New Pretty Town for a month when Zane finds her at a bash and introduces her to his clique, the re-formed Crims. None of them can remember exactly how they met, or what happened at the Smoke, or why Shay ended up getting the Operation after running away. Outside, Shay tries to figure out what she's forgotten. Zane finds her and explains that trying to remember - to stay bubbly - is the reason he reformed the Crims in New Pretty Town.

Shay is voted in as a member of the Crims and begins spending enough time alone with Zane that some of the other members wonder if they're dating. When Tally arrives in New Pretty Town, Shay shows her to her new room and teaches her how to use the hole in the wall. Shay upsets Tally by mentioning the Smoke and makes up for it by setting their interface rings to BFF mode, which will cause their rings to vibrate when the other is nearby.

Shay and Tachs are alone together after a party and talk about Tally, and what they can remember of the past. Tachs reminds Shay that he saved her from drowning during a flash flood when they were on their way to the Smoke together, and the two kiss.

Shay and Tally meet to work out costumes for a party, where the Crims will vote on whether or not to add Tally to the clique. Shay shows off her newest surge, which turned her eyes into backward clocks, but Tally doesn't get it. At the party, she shows the surge to Zane, who rates them at 50 milli-helens. Finally, Tachs looks at them, and excitedly proclaims that it's "like for turning back time... in your mind's eye." The two bond, as seemingly Tachs is the only one who understood the point of the surge. As they begin to kiss an alarm sounds and Tally tackles Peris, throwing both of them off of the balcony. After the confusion surrounding Tally's exit, the Crims vote on her membership. Everyone votes her in, though Shay hesitates before casting her vote.

Tachs and Shay visit a pleasure garden but are interrupted mid-kiss by Shay's interface ring vibrating. Shay jumps to her feet and begins looking for Tally, who must be nearby. Instead, she finds Tally's and Zane's interface rings, hung on reeds so that the city interface wouldn't know where they are. Shay complains that Tally has once again "[found] the most important boy and [hooked] up with him." Tachs is comforting her when he spots Tally and Zane climbing the radio tower on top of Valentino Mansion with Special Circumstances headed in their direction.

Some time later Shay and Tachs meet inside the clock tower and discuss their secret romance, Tally's and Zane's odd behavior, and possibly leaving the Crims. Tachs has the idea to get the Crims to break through the ice of the Nefertiti Ice Rink at the start of the soccer finals, which are held directly underneath and feature fireworks. Then the two get matching facial flash tattoos to fit in with the rest of the Crims before they leave the clique for good.

Fausto, one of the Crims, later helps Shay and Tachs get past the increased security at Valentino Mansion so they can climb the radio tower and try to figure out what caused the change in Tally and Zane's behavior. As they climb, Shay slips. Tachs catches her before she falls, but she scratches her hand on the metal of the tower. Tachs' fear and Shay's pain cause them both to remember things from Ugly days.

The day of the soccer finals the Crims gather at the ice rink, where they discreetly pour vodka on the ice. Zane does a jump, landing in the middle of the vodka puddle and causing the ice to shatter. The Pretties on the ice rink fall into the soccer field, the shock causing many of them to remember more about their past. At the bonfire party that follows, Shay confronts Tally about her strange behavior and learns that she and Zane found a cure for the brain fog that comes with being Pretty. When Tally tells her that the cure is a pill that she shared with Zane, Shay is furious that Tally didn't share the cure with her instead and the two have a loud fight.

Shay storms off into the woods, where she meets Dr. Cable. Cable tells Shay that it's her anger that keeps her bubbly, like Zane's guilt and Tally's ego. Then she offers to turn Shay into a Special, making her permanently free from being bubbleheaded.

At the clocktower, Tachs and Shay are joined by Ho as they discuss the bubblehead lesions and cut themselves to stay bubbly. Tachs suggests they teach more people about their cure, and Shay decides to start her own clique by contacting the many Pretties who have pinged the Crims since the breakthrough at the ice rink wanting to join. Shay is leading a ritualistic cutting circle in the rain in Uglyville when her interface ring vibrates, indicating that Tally is nearby. Shay looks around for her friend and finds her loading an unconscious Zane onto a hoverboard. Tally escapes on the board before Shay can reach her.

Concerned that Tally is alerting Special Circumstances about Shay's new clique, Shay tells her followers that they need to leave the city immediately. The Pretties grab some supplies and head out to the Rusty Ruins, hoping to find David and whatever Smokies remain. They spot Specials out in the ruins and use flares to create a distraction so that the Smokies might escape. All of them are captured, and Dr. Cable personally brings Shay back to the city to force the operation on her to make her a Special.

Specials Edit

Main article: Specials (book)

Shay leads the Cutters on a mission to crash an Ugly party. She starts dancing with the Uglies to get the party started, but her fun is soon cut short when Tally discovers a Smoky girl. Unfortunately for the Cutters, the Smoky escapes via hoverboard. Shay spearheads the hunt to take her down, but too late, as the Cutters realize that the Smoky girl is leading them straight into an ambush. Shay and the others grimly become aware that the Smokes are concealed with sneak suits, but the Cutters are exposed. As the Cutters dodge shock-stick arrows in the darkness, Shay tries to stop David from stealing one of their special hoverboards but is struck with a handheld shock-stick and collapses. David kidnaps the unconscious Shay only to dump her into the river, forcing Tally to let him and the other Smokies escape as she saves Shay from drowning.

Although annoyed that the Cutters were made fools of and that Fausto was taken by the Smokies, Shay remains calm as she plans their revenge.

She and Tally burn the armory down to free Zane and accidentally starts the war between their city and Diego. Shay becomes friends with Tally again, who remains a Special, unlike everyone else in Special Circumstances.

Extras Edit

Main article: Extras (book)

In Extras, Shay travels to Japan with Tally, David, and Fausto. They had been finding mass drivers all over the world and when Aya Fuse's story goes global, they hunt her down. After attempting to rescue Aya, Hiro Fuse, and Frizz, they infiltrate the Extras's base and mistake their rockets for missiles. After realizing their mistake, Shay goes to Nana Love's 1000 Faces Party to raise awareness for the Extras.

Quotes Edit

Uglies Edit

  • "Never bored on a hoverboard."
  • "All that glitters is not hovery."
  • "Making ourselves feel ugly is not fun."
  • "We're not freaks, Tally. We're normal. We may not be gorgeous, but at least we're not hyped-up Barbie dolls."
  • "I can't imagine anything worse than being required to have fun."

Pretties Edit

  • "I want the Smoke back. I want my brain and face back. I want [Dr. Cable] and Special Circumstances and the Pretty Committee and this whole stupid city to leave me alone! That's what I want! Everything you and Tally took from me!"

Specials Edit

  • "That's what's amazing about you, Tally - even Dr. Cable and her surgeons don't stand a chance against your ego."

Extras Edit

  • "David's never had any surge at all. But I wouldn't use the word ugly. Tally might eat you."

Trivia Edit

  • Shay learned to trick her hoverboard from her hoverboarding team. They all break the safeties of their boards because they feel they "slow [them] down". [1]
  • Shay never went on a date until she turned Pretty. [2]
  • David was Shay's first kiss. [3]
  • While making morphos with Tally, Shay prefers the right side of her face because it looks wilder and tougher than her left. [4]
  • As a Special, Shay can detect people's emotions primarily through scent.
  • Shay has the same birthday as Tally, September ninth.
  • Shay has a flash tattoo of snakes coiling around her eyebrow and down her cheek.
  • Shay's name means "hawk" in Irish. [5].
  • As a Pretty, Shay lives in Komachi Mansion. Her room is called Bluesky.
  • At least as a Pretty, Shay appears to enjoy caviar. [6]

Gallery Edit


  1. Uglies: Shay's Story, pg. 10
  2. Uglies: Shay's Story, pg. 13
  3. Uglies: Shay's Story, pg. 161
  4. Uglies
  5. Shay name origin
  6. Pretties
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