|“||This whole game is just designed to make us hate ourselves.||”|
–Shay, Shay's Story
Shay shares a complicated friendship with Tally Youngblood 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.
- Main article: Uglies (book)
Shay is about to turn sixteen and become pretty but before that, she has to survive the rest of her time as an Ugly. Together with Tally, Shay's new best friend, Shay pulls extravagant tricks growing in strength with each success. As their birthdays, which are on the same day, approach, Shay becomes nervous. Finally Shay leaves for the Smoke and tries to bring Tally with her, but Tally wants to stay. Shay gives Tally two choices: become a pretty with Peris, or be an ugly for the rest of her life with Shay and David, Shay's secret friend.
- Main article: Pretties (book)
In Pretties, Shay has "forgiven" Tally for betraying the Smoke and stealing David from her, but it was actually caused by the brain lesions that every pretty gets after the surgery. Later, when she figures out that Tally had the cure for the lesions, but Tally gave one to Zane and she took the other one herself, Shay is upset enough to create a scene at a Pretty party. Felling alone and abandoned, she starts cutting herself to be "bubbly". By the end of the book, she becomes Special and is the leader of the Cutters. For revenge, Shay also makes Tally part of her platoon of Specials.
- 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.
- 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.
- "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."
- "I want the Smoke back. I want my brain and face back. I want [Dr. Cable] and Special Circumstances and the whole Pretty Committee and this whole stupid city to leave me alone! That's what I want! Everything you and Tally took from me!"
- "That's what's amazing about you, Tally- even Dr. Cable and her surgeons don't stand a chance against your ego."
- "David's never had any surge at all. But I wouldn't use the word ugly. Tally might eat you."
- While making morphos with Tally, Shay prefers the right side of her face because it looks wilder and tougher than her left. 
- As a Special, Shay can smell people's emotions.
- 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 .
- As a Pretty, Shay lives in Komachi Mansion. Her room is called Bluesky.
- At least as a Pretty, Shay appears to enjoy caviar.