First published by Simon & Schuster in 2007 (this edition by Simon & Schuster in 2010)
Book #4 in the Uglies series
(Reviews for: Uglies, Pretties, Specials)
Description (from Goodreads):
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.
As if being fifteen doesn't suck enough, Aya Fuse's rank of 451,369 is so low, she's a total nobody. An extra. But that's just until she gets to kick a good story for herself.
Then Aya meets a clique of girls who pull crazy tricks, yet are deeply secretive of it. Aya wants desperately to kick their story, to show everyone how intensely cool the Sly Girls are. But doing so would propel her out of extra-land and into the world of fame, celebrity...and extreme danger. A world she's not prepared for.
I have to start by saying that Extras was definitely far better than Specials. By the end of Specials, I didn't really like Tally, to be honest, as she had become a bit of a bitchy character, so I really liked the fact that the focus was on a different character this time.
In Extras, we meet Aya, a fifteen year old girl with a face rank of 451,369. That is not something she is happy about, as in their society, being famous (meaning having a high face rank) comes with all sorts of different perks. Whereas Aya's current rank means that she has to work more (do more homework or do some other job in the community) so as to earn more credits to use up for things she wants. That means that only popular people are 'rich'. To get her face rank to a higher value, she kicks stories. (It took me ages to realise what that was, but, basically, it's a little like journalism and reporting.)
This story actually takes part in Japan, with some bits of it in other places in Asia. My first clue were all the names of the people in this book: Aya, Hiro, Ren, Frizz. And the second was where, at some point, it actually mentioned the words 'native Japanese'. But, of course, you can't have a book in the Uglies series which doesn't feature a bit of Tally in it! And a bit of David and Shay!
I really did enjoy reading Extras. The story was completely different to the other three books in the series and all the more enjoyable for that. Aya is a great main character, despite the fact that she spends a large part of the book obsessing about her rank. Frizz was also a lovely character! Weird, but still very lovely. But one of the highlights of this book would definitely have to be Moggle! The things poor Moggle goes through in this book are beyond imaginable! Fortunately, the bits with Tally in them were better than I thought they would be. As I said before, I didn't really like Tally by the end of Specials, but she was kind-of ok in this one.
All in all, Extras is definitely a lot better than both Pretties and Specials, but not quite as good as Uglies. And it's different enough not to make you feel as if you're reading the same thing again.
You can find out more about Scott Westerfeld at the end of my review of Uglies.
Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011, Dystopia Challenge