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Extras by Scott Westerfeld
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Extras (edition 2007)

by Scott Westerfeld

Series: Uglies (4)

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3,6951321,421 (3.67)99
Member:tigerlily33
Title:Extras
Authors:Scott Westerfeld
Info:Simon Pulse (2007), Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
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Extras by Scott Westerfeld

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Extras is the unexpected final book in the Uglies series, following what was originally touted as a trilogy. The series is set in a dystopian future in which the ideas of beauty and conformity are the central ideals of the society. This book takes place a few years after Tally's story ended and centers on Aya Fuse. While conformity is less of a "thing" than it once was, beauty still remains as a measure of worth. But is apparently no longer enough to be beautiful OR to be unique. In Aya's city, being famous was the primary goal. The more famous you are, the higher your "face rank" is and that rank is the currency upon which her society is based.

There are pretty specific cliques within her fame-obsessed world. There are the tech heads, those that are obsessed with the newest technology. There are also the surge monkeys, those who are obsessed with the newest and weirdest plastic surgery trends in their quest for physical attractiveness. And then there are the kickers, those obsessed with tracking down the latest story, the latest gossip, the latest bit of news. These are posted on feeds, techy versions of our blogs. Those whose face ranks are at the low end are the extras, the climbers who are obsessed with raising their ranks. Aya is an extra with a face rank so low that no one knows who she is. And she is obsessed with changing that. When she stumbles upon a mysterious group of girls, it changes everything for her. Most of the book focuses on Aya and her friends and they are all important to the story. But we also see Tally and her crew again, brought into the story at important moments. There are a ton of twists and turns in the plot, and quite a few surprises.

In many ways, this is a timely book for this day and age. It confronts the ideas of beauty and fame both, and turns it on edge in an extreme way that makes you think. There are also themes of ethics and morality that present themselves in interesting, even if subtle, ways.

There is no question that I loved this series and the thoughts it provoked. But I can't help but wish that perhaps it took all of these themes just a bit further. Like any good dystopian story, the author criticizes current society and focuses on aspects of it that are disturbing in their potential for disaster. He took those things to extreme levels and based the world of his books on those aspects. Beauty, conformity, fame... all of these things have the potential for disaster. And all of these things are questioned. But in the end, Tally still becomes Pretty and Aya still becomes famous. True, as characters they have questioned those things and they are aware of the darker side, but they still became the very things that are at the center of controversy. While both of these girls rebelled against the system, they both benefitted from it and I am not sure that was the intended message. Of course, I do tend to over think things!

My Recommendation

This is an well-written series with some important issues as the focus. It is engaging and thought-provoking and a fantastic reading experience. ( )
  Kiki870 | Aug 6, 2015 |
I liked this one in the series, sort of a supplemental addition to show you what happens after the mind rain. It's interesting to see Tally from a different point of view.
  SaraEllen | Jul 3, 2015 |
Good read, it was nice to know what happened after the mind rain, but it was a bit long. ( )
  bookjunkie57 | Apr 17, 2015 |
This book is aptly titled, because it doesn't need to exist. It's like a forced book, in an otherwise decent series. It really should have ended with [b:Specials|24765|Specials (Uglies, #3)|Scott Westerfeld|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1390340887s/24765.jpg|3278286]. But nooo... Authors gots to get paid, right?

This book is the story of Aya Fuse, and her obsession with being famous. It's kind of a social media type story. The cool kids, known as "kickers" are always kicking stories to the 'net, to get fame, or what reddit would call karma, or something.

It's stupid. It'd definitely a teeny-bopper thing. Getting your selfie noticed on facebook, or doing something stupid and filming it for youtube. That's what happens for the majority of this book, just Aya filming stupid shit with her hover-drone, and posting it to wherever in order to get followers, or fame.

And of course, there's some plot to destroy the world, that she happens to stumble upon. This makes her uber-famous, and she gets to live the high-life for a while, until Tally and Shay show up. The bitches from the previous books. I'm not sure what the fuck they're doing in this book, because their history in the series has absolutely nothing to do with this story.

I really think the author should have either continued his story with Tally and Shay, or started a completely new series in this awesome world he's created. Because that world is awesome, filled with spectacular sci-fi elements and technology.

But no. He had to go and skull fuck the series with this book. It just doesn't belong in the series. And, in the end, it's just a stupid fucking story about an obsessed teenage girl. It's not near as interesting as the previous books. So, don't bother with this one. Just end it with Specials, and call it a day. ( )
  gecizzle | Mar 5, 2015 |
Right, so first thing's first: I read this a long time ago, it's the only book of the Uglies series I've read, and I actually didn't read all of it (I had a hard time reading anything in high school). I'll have to read it again someday, along with the other three, but I think I got enough of a read from it to determine if it was any good. I love concept of this, especially because at least the modification aspect is a possible future reality. Also, as a manga fan, I love the anime eyes thing going on. Since this was set a couple years after the last of the first three, I wasn't as confused as I would have been if I'd started with Pretties or Specials. I still feel that I need to read all of the books to truly grasp the whole story, which I plan to do in the future. When I do re-read this, I'll modify this review. ( )
  LunaraDawn | Dec 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 132 (next | show all)
With its combination of high-stakes melodrama, cinematic action and thought-provoking insight into some really thorny questions of human nature, the new novel, like its predecessors, is a superb piece of popular art, reminiscent less of other young adult books than of another pop masterpiece, the revived “Battlestar Galactica.”
added by Aerrin99 | editNew York Times, James Hynes (Nov 11, 2007)
 
Aya and her friends are some of the most interesting, flawed and inspirational people I've met in a young adult novel, making this yet another great Westerfeld to use in turning your kids onto sf.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Sep 30, 2007)
 
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Epigraph
Part I: Watch This

You all say you need us. Well, maybe you do, but not to help you. You have enough help, with the millions of bubbly new minds about to be unleashed, with all the cities coming awake at last. Together, you're more than enough to change the world without us. So from now on, David and I are here to stand in your way. You see, freedom has a way of destroying things.

- Tally Youngblood
Dedication
To everyone who wrote to me to reveal the secret definition of the word "trilogy."
First words
"Moggle," Aya whispered. "You awake?"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
It's a few years after rebel Tally Youngblood took down the uglies/pretties/specials regime. Without those strict roles and rules, the world is in a complete cultural renaissance. "Tech-heads" flaunt their latest gadgets, "kickers" spread gossip and trends, and "surge monkeys" are hooked on extreme plastic surgery. And it's all monitored on a bazillion different cameras. The world is like a gigantic game of American Idol. Whoever is getting the most buzz gets the most votes. Popularity rules.
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Now that the world is in a complete cultural renaissance, fifteen-year-old Aya Fuse, an Extra, just wants to lay low, so when she discovers the secret lives of the Sly Girls, she wants to report their story, but Aya knows that would propel her into celebrity--a status she's not prepared for.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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