Nancy O'Toole's Reviews > Extras

Extras by Scott Westerfeld
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's review
May 26, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: science-fiction, young-adult
Read from January 15 to 20, 2012

Thanks to Tally Youngblood, the world is no longer made up of Bubblehead Pretties. In Aya's city, people can think for themselves, and how often you think about someone can have a big impact on their life. Here, the entire economy is based on face ranking. The people who gain the most attention live the most luxurious lives that “extras” like low-ranking Aya can only dream of achieving. That's until Aya comes across a big story that could really get people talking, but what if there's more to the situation than she first suspects?

Extras is an interesting addition to the Uglies Series. Although the main story involving Tally that began in Uglies was resolved by the end of Specials, Extras brings us back to show us how the world is reacting. Characters from the Uglies series, such as Tally and Shay, make an appearance, but the story is mainly about Aya and her friends. What I like the most about this series is fact that the dystopian elements feel rather plausible. As someone currently living in a world filled with trending topics, and viral videos I found it easy to see how an economy where the most noticed person wins could come about. Aya's desire to be famous suits the books intended teen audience quite well, considered the power popularity holds in middle and high school.

As for how I felt about Extras, I do feel a little divided. I liked, but didn't love the first half of the book. One of the complaints I had about Specials is I felt the series was becoming repetitive, and I can't help but notice the same thing about Extras. Much like with Uglies, Extras begins with a young girl sneaking into a party for the elite that she's not allowed to attend yet. Like Tally, she finds herself involved in a counter-culture group and must hide her true intentions to get what she wants. Despite any issues I may have had with the set up, I did ultimately enjoy getting to know more about Aya's world and her friends. When we came to the second half of the book, I found that I disliked it, but didn't hate it. Part of the reason for this has to do with Tally's role. During Specials, I noted that she was becoming a less likable character and it seems like this has only continued into Extras. I really couldn't stand her here. As the characters continue to research Aya's story, certain revelations are made that I don't think are as satisfying as they could have been, which made the ending of the book feel like kind of a let down.

As mentioned before, Extras is an interesting book. I really liked the overall concepts about fame and popularity, but felt these concepts were explored unevenly. As a result, I probably wouldn't recommend this book to fans of the Uglies Series. For one thing, you don't even need to read this book. Still, I can understand why people would want to see what happens after Specials, and finish this series. That's why I picked up the book after all.

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Reading Progress

01/15/2012 page 123
29.0% "It's official. I am a READING MACHINE lately." 1 comment
01/16/2012 page 250
60.0% "I'll admit, I'm having similar issues to this one than I had with past novels in the series, but I'm ultimately enjoying it."
01/19/2012 page 327
78.0% "Tally's quite unlikable in this book...."
01/20/2012 page 417
100.0% "Done! Feeling a little mixed on this one. There were aspects I really liked, and other ones I didn't enjoy so much. Review will be posted once I get my thoughts together."

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Kelley RIGHT?? I am already on book #11 for 2012 and it's....the 15th! -poker face-

Nancy O'Toole My goodness, you're an even more efficient machine than I am (Extras, when it's finished, will be book #7)! Don't know what it is, I've just been in the mood lately.

message 3: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Kelley Me too. Pretty much all I want to do and it helps that I got almost 400 dollars in gift cards for books for Christmas and people keep buying me books!!!!!!!!!!! So good thing I have no life and love reading LOL

Nancy O'Toole Wow! Nice Christmas :)

Cassy The second half of the book is actually what I LIKED about the book. I liked that Tally became a little tougher in this book but that she also had to learn that this world was different than the one she had lived in. I liked that the relationship between Shay and Tally had finally worked itself out. I like learning about Aya's world too and found it very plausible. I admit, the ending and how it all worked out was a bit of a let down, but seeing how Aya and Shay and Tally all interacted was one of my favorite things to read about.

Nancy O'Toole I don't know, when Tally started showing up and started looking down on the characters for using honorifics (san, sensei, sama) I think it caused us to start off on a bad foot, which didn't work for me. To each her own I guess?

You're that it was nice to see the Tally/Shay dynamic finally working out well after so long :)

Cassy I always felt so BAD for Shay and Tally because it seemed like their whole relationship was a series of misunderstandings (mostly propegated by Tally.) You should REALLY read Mind Rain. It's actually a bunch of DIFFERENT authors writing short essays on Westerfeld's Uglies series and I found it a GREAT companion to the series.

In fact, there's an essay in there that defends Shay and really puts her into a whole new light. She's constantly painted as the "bad guy" and the author paints Tally as kind of the "bad guy" of the relationship. I think you'd really enjoy it if you can get your hands on it.

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