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Specials by Scott Westerfeld

Specials (edition 2007)

by Scott Westerfeld, Rodrigo Corral (Designer)

Series: Uglies (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,483182792 (3.8)183
Authors:Scott Westerfeld
Other authors:Rodrigo Corral (Designer)
Info:Simon Pulse (2007), Edition: 1, Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:own, library sale, young adult, read2012, uglies series, adventure, environment, futuristic, TD

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Specials by Scott Westerfeld


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The follow-up to "Uglies" and "Pretties," this third book in the
series finds Tally Youngblood transformed into one of the very elite
force that she formerly tried so desperately to escape. Her body has
been technologically enhanced - but she no longer seems to remember
some of the things that were most important to her. But when Tally is
assigned to wipe out her former friends, the anti-technology rebels of
the New Smoke, her new bosses may have pushed her too far. Her former
allegiances war with the new perceptions and her belief in her
superiority as a Special.
Obviously, these books are entertainingly written - I've now read 3 of
them. However, the more of them I read, the more I also get aggravated
by their simplistic treatment of complicated issues. Obviously, giving
people brain damage in the process of pursuing a Utopian society is
not going to be acceptable to many people - but Dr. Cable is portrayed
as horribly evil to the exclusion of her seeming human.
The New Smokies are portrayed as the heroes - but nothing is shown
that will convince the reader that they're not on a path that will
lead to be old problems of overpopulation and environmental
destruction that initially destroyed society.
Westerfeld fails when he twins the positive elements of the "Pretties"
society and technological enhancement with the negative aspects of it.
In this world, it seems, either you can be a "regular" human, or an
unnatural, brainwashed creature (whether "Pretty" or "Special.". The
possibility of utilizing the amazing technological advances (both
aesthetic and practical) that are portrayed, without the mind-numbing
brainwashing techniques employed by Dr. Cable, is not discussed - and
it's such an obvious solution that its lack becomes a failing in these
However, there's now a 4th volume in the series - so I guess I'll have
to read that one next! ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
"Uglies" was really the standard-bearer for me. This wasn't as compelling.

Tally and best friend Shay are Specials, beautiful girls with a sharp
edge and superhuman abilities. A caper to steal a cutter tool from the
Armory results in the two completely destroying the Armory in order to
escape detection. The consequence is an attack by New Pretty Town on Diego, the town they suspect of attacking the Armory and current hotbed of runaways seeking freedom and a cure from their limited social statuses as Pretties, Ugies, etc.
( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
  MisaBookworm | Feb 2, 2016 |
I didn't like it. The story was no good for me, the characters had changed radically from the first book and I thought it was a little bit rushed, and random (hehe). ( )
  babydogfish | Jan 29, 2016 |
What an incredible end to the series! I will admit, it left me a little wanting, but I think that's part of the point. We fill in what's left with what we've learned from the series.

Tally becoming a Special was, from the story's standpoint, incredible. Watching her go from a bubbly little pretty to a programmed fighting machine was really cool, and at the same time, gave me the heebie-jeebies! From Tally's standpoint though, it was a horrible thing to have happen. She's now programmed to destroy the place and people she truly loves.

I won't spoil the story, so I'm going to stop here. If you've read the first two books, you've got to read this one! It's amazing. If you haven't read the series yet, you should, because it's one you'll never forget, and I bet you'll never look at yourself the same way again (in a good way). ( )
  Rose.Wallin | Jan 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 181 (next | show all)
Specials is part parable of life as an adolescent struggling to define your identity in a conformist world; part dark and unflinching look at the very real mental disorders that this impossible circumstance visits upon many young people.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (May 8, 2006)

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Scott Westerfeldprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Montbertrand, CarineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Part I: Being Special

By plucking her petals you do

not gather the beauty of the flower.

- Rabindranath Tagore, "Stray Birds"
To all the fans who've written me about this series. Thanks for telling me what was right, what was wrong, and which bits made you throw the book across the room. (You know who you are.)
First words
The six hoverboards slipped among the trees with the lightning grace of playing cards thrown flat and spinning.
Part II: Tracking Zane

When the people of the world all know beauty as beauty,

There arises the recognition of ugliness.

When they all know the good as good,

There arises the recognition of evil.

- Lao Tzu, The Tao Te Ching
Part III: Unmaking War

One faces the future with one's past.

- Pearl S. Buck
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
The words have sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor -- frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally's never been ordinary.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0689865406, Hardcover)

FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. When she is turned into a super-modelesque super-fighting machine, Tally, a former ugly, is ordered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid in a carefully engineered world of perfection where she refuses to play by the rules.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:27 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The words have sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious Ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor, frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary Pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally's never been ordinary and now she's been turned into one of them. A superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the Uglies down and the Pretties stupid. The strength, the speed, the clarity and focus of her thinking feels better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more. Still, it's easy to tune that out until Tally's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice to listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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