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3.13  ·  Rating details ·  160 ratings  ·  39 reviews
A breathtaking glimpse into our future from the acclaimed author of Darkwater.

I am not Delia Greene. I should not be here. Why haven't they come for me?

Alone in my room, I log onto the Wastelands, the data dump where anonymity is guaranteed, where people go to throw their unfilled hopes and dreams, their despair, their pain, their loneliness, a great tangle and mess of wor
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 28th 2016 by Random House Australia Children's
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3.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  160 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
This review originally appears on Happy Indulgence Books. Check it out for more reviews!

Actual Rating: 2.5

Dystopians are one of my favourite genres, because they explore a future that could be possible if the balance of power gets out of hand. Combining extreme poverty on one end, and the pampered lives of the rich, it often provides an in-depth exploration into human nature.

Special explores a harrowing future owned by corporations, where the rich and the privileged can custom design their chi
Dec 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was amazing and wonderful and I couldn't put it down.
But then it just ended and I was disappointed.
If this is the first book setting up a new series then it was perfect and I eagerly await the next one.
If however that was the end of the story then I am disappointed as I feel there is so much left unanswered.

The writing was brilliant and the story thought provoking and intriguing I really hope there is more of this story and world to come. I would love to watch these characters grow fur
Jan 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
Dystopian isn't my thing, but I wanted to read a contemporary Australian author. Unfortunately this didn't do much for me.

None of the characters had terribly defining features (except for what they were good at; music, maths, communications etc., but I wouldn't count that), which made the story beige and not connect as much (or at all, really). They were severely underdeveloped and just, well, boring.

The plot had a pretty hackneyed message; watch out for technology, it'll go too far. That's par
Mar 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
A three-way cross between Never Let Me Go, Gattaca, and Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series.

Fern is a ‘Lotto Girl’, her impoverished parents having won the ability to craft a genetically-specialised child. This is a world where people are owned and housed by corporations, where most people live in slums and struggle to survive, where currency has been replaced by ill-defined “data”, and the ultimate punishment is “datawiping” - a sort of identity theft and banishment that kills many who incur it.

Apr 10, 2016 rated it liked it
An enjoyable young adult dystopian fiction. It reminded me quite a lot of Never Let Me Go in some aspects, and was quite well-written, however I would've added an extra star for a more fleshed-out ending. It felt like the ending of book one a series, however certain bridges were burned in the conclusion that make me believe this is meant to be a stand-alone book. I think there needed to be more build up to the character choosing the course of action that she did to make it feel more in-keeping w ...more
This was an interesting story of bio-genetically enhanced children specially endowed either through the wealth of their parents or of having won a random draw (the Lotto) to have a life of privilege and service in their particular speciality while most of the world's population lived in appalling conditions scarcely able to find enough shelter and enough to eat. It seems that whatever the ruling system it will not be egalitarian but always elitist and the under-privileged will have to struggle a ...more
Apr 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I absolutely adore the concept of this novel but feel that we spend most of story being told what was happening rather than seeing was happening around us.

I would love to have another 50 or so pages to explore the ending a little more, or even a second book to explore this world and its characters some more.
Michele Barnes
Mar 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: p-mccleod
I am assuming there must be a sequel as the story just ended. This story seemed very similar to so many future YA novels I have read and hence the 3 stars. It was an easy read but it didn't really grip me like other novels I have read!
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
A spine chilling glimpse into the future. Loved it.
Clever, assured, and tense.
Gaby Meares
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Blain has created a not-too-distant-future that is very bleak. She has used many current technologies and extended them to the extreme. Children are now created by design; those who can afford it can pay for any modifications for their offspring they choose, be they aesthetic or intellectual, like purchasing a product from an online catalogue. However, for the poorer members of society, there is a lottery and a chance for their child to escape the slums.
Fern is a Lotto Girl: designed from pre-bi
Stacey Longo
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. One of the best YA books that I've read in ages and it's a shame that it's not more popular.

Fern is a teenager living in a dystopian world where she is currently in hiding and has to perform menial labour just to survive.

But what the people around her don't know is that Fern is special because she is a Lotto girl. Her parents were prizewinners who won the chance to design their own perfect child. Yet she has been taken away from that life. How and why did she end up in the
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was enticed by the blurb but when I read the book I was a bit disillusioned. I preferred Dan Brown's Origin for a book talking about when technology takes over. The main character Fern seemed kind of underdeveloped and her fling with Chimo was too sudden and unexpected. The story was confusing in parts when talking about corrupt corporations. I liked the idea of two designed girls versus two undersigned ones but even this description isn't certain. The premise of the book is interesting but it ...more
Jos M
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Just ok teen dystopian. The story occurs in media res as Fern describes how she has ended up as a sort of rubbish sorter in a futuristic world in which data is money. She describes her childhood at a slightly sinister boarding school as a "lotto" student, her parents having won a lottery to have her genetically designed. Basically the dynamic is that she is a scholarship student in a school of snobs. However, rebellion is on the horizon...

Blain's use of language is very strong. Unfortunately, th
Melissa (Jen & Mel's Book Nook)
My final rating is probably closer to 3.5 to 3.75 stars, but whatever, I like to round up.

This was a really interesting read, though the ending was quite abrupt and left more questions than answers.

I really liked the differences in the various environments in this book, from the clean, easy living of BioPerfect to the cesspit like conditions of ReCorp where everyone scrapes by on little to nothing, even if it does resemble other dystopian novels such as The Hunger Games trilogy (The Capital vs
Jul 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Fern is one of four Lotto students who have been genetically engineered to create certain special characteristics. This procedure is usually only available to the wealthy and powerful, but some lucky parents from the poorer classes are given the privilege to select the genetic makeup of their children and to send them to elite schools where they get the best education, health care and nutrition.

Fern loves her privileged life at her elite school, but all is not well with the society outside its w
This is a book I will definitely recommend to school teachers and librarians. It deals with questions of nature vs nurture / bio tech / environment / corporate responsibility / profit vs people and how we as a society define "special". There is no clear-cut solution in this story which would encourage class debate and it shows more than one perspective of the issues; all through the experience of the protagonist Fern.
The future dystopian world depicted here is not that hard to imagine given the
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
This was not good.

There was nothing original about the plotline, the characters were boring as all hell, the world building sucked balls, the pacing was all over the place, nothing made sense and I was just left frustrated and annoyed by the end of this book. The first quarter showed intrigue and I was sucked in a little. The second quarter was boring but hey, I wanted to know what was happening. It wasn't until I got halfway in that I realised nothing was going to change and this was a waste o
Clare Snow
The post apocalyptic world Fern Marlow inhabits is a future where corporations control everything and the poor are pretty much born into slavery to provide for the rich. Babies are genetically modified to possess the traits, looks and talents the parents choose (and pay for). A lucky few from the poorer classes get access through a genetic lottery and Fern Marlow is one of the resultant Lotto Girls.

As Fern discovers more about the hidden truths of her world and its past, this future might be mor
St Stephen's C C
Fern Marlow is alone, datawiped and in hiding. Her mobie says she's Delia Greene, a ReCorp refuse sorter. Every day she queues to work, to earn just enough to stay alive. Every night she dreams of the past and the life she's meant to be living, back at Halston, an exclusive school for those wealthy enough - or lucky enough - to be genetically designed.

Her rescuers said her former life was a lie, that she can trust no one. They also said they'd come back for her, and they haven't. Fern doesn't kn
This story was okay, but I never felt truly engaged with the story. Perhaps because much of the action took place in the past, or perhaps because the characters read flat, whatever it was, this book and I just never clicked. It's difficult to explain, but the writing was great in the way that the words resonated brilliantly throughout, but the writing also wasn't great at all, because the story and characters fell flat. A difficult book to review. It is one I wouldn't necessarily recommend, but ...more
Dec 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Special describes a dystopian future in which the wealthy and the lucky few who win Lotto are able to have their genetic makeup determined by BioPerfect, one of a number of large companies who control the world. The main character and narrator is Fern, a Lotto child, and the plot revolves around her development as she learns of the inequality and horrors her world. An interesting premise, reminsecent of Never Let Me Go, but with an unsatisfying conclusion.
Brona's Books
Feb 11, 2016 rated it liked it
In Special, Georgia Blain imagines a world not too far removed from what is possible now.

A world before 'The Breakdown'.
A world where data is the new currency and where genetic modification is the norm. For some.
For everything has a price. Even our individual identity.
Especially our individual identity.

A world where being special isn't all its cracked up to be.
Jun 02, 2016 rated it liked it
I liked the premise for this story, but I thought some parts were a bit boring. Fern, the main character has been 'special' but is now living a life in hiding. Not a lot really happens, it is only towards the end that secrets emerge that I think will lead to another book, but I think a lot of scenes could have been cut and more could have been added to the story. I didn't feel many of the side characters were fleshed out enough...
May 14, 2016 marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: ebook
DNF @ 35%
I really tried with this one, I really did but it was just bleh, which was a shame as I was highly anticipating this.
I thought the story line was quite typical of numerous dystopians I have read. The pacing was all over the place and I didn't understand what was going on half the time tbh
Pam Saunders
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: distopia
Fern Marlow is a Lotto Girls, chosen to have specific genetic traits and given a life of education, food and luxury compared to her parents. The rich can pay for generic designs and luxury. Is everything as it seems? Why does she find herself wiped from the system and living under an assumed name? Not quite as complex as I would have liked, I guessed the twist early on.
Anne Williams:)
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dystopian fiction. A girl is selected for a special education in a world where most people are barely surviving. This book is about gene manipulation and a society with a large degree of control. I found it quite engaging- with lots of twists and turns.
Jazmin Jade
Apr 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Thank to Penguin Random house for sending me this book for review.

This book is easy to read and I flew through it in less than a day, but about 2/3rds of the way through, it become less enjoyable and a bit pointless. Full review to come.
Sadly, I was disappointed with this book. I felt no empathy for the characters. The treatment of genetic engineering raised interesting points, but it was laboured.
Elizabeth Fitzgerald
This book is an entry in the Aurealis Awards for 2016, for which I am a judge. Any review will be withheld until the results of the awards are announced.
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Georgia Blain has published novels for adults and young adults, essays, short stories, and a memoir. Her first novel was the bestselling Closed for Winter, which was made into a feature film. She was shortlisted for numerous awards including the NSW and SA Premiers' Literary Awards, and the Nita B. Kibble Award for her memoir Births Deaths Marriages. Georgia's works include The Secret Lives of Men ...more
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