By Scott Westerfield
Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Publishing Division, 2007, 2011
Three years after Specials ended and Tally Youngblood has faded into the wilderness we are in a Japanese city that runs on a reputation economy. Plainly put the more popular you are – or the higher your face rank – the more worth you have.
• Aya Fuse, fifteen year old anxiously waiting for her surgery at age 16, desperate to be famous
• Frizz Mizuno highly ranked founder of the clique Radical Honesty who falls for Aya
• Moogle, Aya’s hovercam that follows her everywhere filming her entire life
• Hiro, Aya’s famous older brother
• Ren, Hiro’s friend and tech head
• The Sly Girls, girls who care nothing for face-rank and fame but want to do crazy tricks in anonymity
This book is the ‘plus one’ in the Uglies triology. It takes place three years after the mind-rain – the awakening from bubbleheadedness that started with Tally Youngblood and the Smokies. Everyone’s focus is on being popular and the more you are in the public eye, the more merits you earn. Aya is looking for a fast way to become famous so she becomes a ‘kicker’ someone who ‘kicks’ stories to the ‘feeds’ that everyone watches – sort of like the celebrity gossip shows and magazines our society has. Aya hooks up with the Sly Girls, does some dangerous tricks and secretly films the popularity-shy clique. Through filming she accidentally uncovers what she thinks is a dangerous clique out to destroy the world. enter Tally Youngblood and the Cutters to save the world once again.
The story of Aya Fuse is well done and with a few modifications it could stand alone from the trilogy, however, it feels like an afterthought. Sort of like Mr. Westerfield had all these other ideas he was unable to incorporate into the original three novels and jammed them all together into Extras. The beginning was hard for me to get through with the Uglies lexicon I find annoying but once I started learning more about Aya it became sort of interesting. The story built to a promising ending then crashed and burned into the pat answer and cliché territory. I won’t bore you with the details here.
I am glad to be done with this series. I’m sorry Mr. Westerfield, but these books were not catnip for me.
Rating: 2 paws for overdrawn storylines and tedious clichés.
Books related to the Uglies trilogy + 1 I won’t be reading: