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The Special Ones

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,242 ratings  ·  249 reviews
A mysterious cult leader has complete control over Esther’s life…or does he?

Esther is one of the Special Ones: four young spiritual guides who live under his protection in a remote farmhouse. The Special Ones are not allowed to leave, but why would they want to? They are safe from toxic modern life, safe from a meaningless existence, safe in their endless work. He watches
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 18th 2017 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published April 1st 2016)
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Em Bailey Funny you should ask this! Hilary Badger is my sister and our writing time on the two books overlapped. It was a weird coincidence. There are similari…moreFunny you should ask this! Hilary Badger is my sister and our writing time on the two books overlapped. It was a weird coincidence. There are similarities in terms of theme (being caught up in cult-like situations, having to determine what is really going on and who is in power) but I think they are very different books too. I think State of Grace is a fantastically accomplished piece of writing - and I would say that even if Hilary wasn't my sister.(less)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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Jasmine from How Useful It Is
About: The Special Ones is a young adult thriller written by Em Bailey. The newest edition will be published on 7/18/17 by HMH Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, hardcover, 304 pages. The genres are young adult fiction, mystery, cult, and thriller.

My Experience: I started reading The Special Ones on 7/8/17 and finished it on 7/16/17. This book is an unbelievable read! The suspense, mystery, and thrill is uncalled for. The story is definitely creepy, yet satisfying.
Well, this was creepy. This is essentially the story of a group of teenagers who've been kidnapped and forced into playing the roles of people in a hundred-odd year old portrait by a guy they never see. He communicates with them through messages, and they know that he's always watching them. And, every day, they have to go online and participate in chatrooms to communicate with the followers of The Special Ones.

And if they don't play their roles sufficiently well or they're getting a little too
Taylor Knight
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
This book was so creepy, oh my gosh.

This review will be pretty short because I think it's best to go into this book knowing as little as possible.
The concept of The Special Ones was so original and unique! I've never read a book like this before and it's really made an impression on me. The writing was really great and I'm very interested in checking out Em Bailey's other book.
rachel ☾
Like Gena/Finn, I have such conflicting feelings about the two halves of this story! I honestly do not know how to review this book because, overall, I think that it was a generally well-written and downright engaging read. But man, that second half! It certainly dragged the story down overall. I just didn’t enjoy the direction the story took and the ending was disappointing.

The First Half:

Like I said, the first half of The Special Ones was brilliant. It was so easy to slip into the story despi
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Special Ones by Em Bailey is a captivating thriller full of suspense and mystery that was creepy and nearly impossible to put down. The looming presence of the unknown "Him" had me hooked from the very beginning of the book and kept ratcheting up the suspense level continuously as the story progressed.

This story had me asking questions from the very beginning and the need to uncover the answers kept me turning those pages. The idea of these young characters being kidnapped and forced into po
MissBecka Gee
***********ARC FROM GIVEAWAY***********
This book was all kinds of messed up.
Some psycho decides to kidnap some people, trap them on a farm to do menial work and abide by a bunch of crazy rules while he records it all and posts it on the internet.
Ya this was all kinds of messed of course I thought it was awesome!
The MC was easy to sympathize with. She was a little sad, kinda cool and a bit weird.
All the characters seemed to jump off the pages and the surroundings were well described giv
paigeee [ a bookish brat ]
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this one pretty fast, my goal was to read it in one day but, didn’t happen.
It started off kind of weird and I wasn’t sure if I would like it.
I’m not really even sure how to review this yet, because I don’t know how I feel about it.
It was creepy, but then stopped being creepy.
Then, it was confusing and I was like wtf am I reading?
And then it was good?

But then I don’t like the ending? Then I do?

Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, 2016
Reaction when I found out about this book:I feel as if I need this book in my life now. It sounds amazing and I need to inhale it.


Oh my god. Yes, I inhaled that. It follows a girl who is locked in a farm and is part of a group called The Special Ones. It's as creepy and eerie as the synopsis is sounds and I love it.

I just spent my afternoon finishing #TheSpecialOnes by #EmBailey. When I first found out about this book, I said I would inhale it, and inhale I did.

The Special Ones follows
This was excellent and I flew through it in two sittings. It was dark and twisty and I had so many feelings!
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loves this book. Although it started a little slow for me the author found a way to suck me in and really care for the characters in this book and worry about what would happen to them. I really loved the main girl Esther whos point of view most of the story is told from Em Bailey did a great job in capturing what the emotions would have been like for her and the other characters she was a headstrong and amazing main character. It was a really well written great read and I couldnt put i ...more
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, have
What a different and interesting read.
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: year-ahead, book-club
I'm not sure what to think after reading this. This is a one of a kind book that will have you thinking during and after reading.

I read Em Bailey's other book "Shift" and from memory I thought it was ok. I remember a lot of people raving about her first book and felt it didn't live up to it's hype in my opinion. But that didn't stop me from loving the idea of this book.

Cults intrigue me, I can't imagine why people would blindly follow someone when what they're doing is wrong. But then I think a
Alisha Marie
Well, this one was a very weird read. And by weird I mean that I absolutely loved the first half of this book and if it had continued that way, I would have rated it four or five stars. Unfortunately, the second half of this book was just not good at all that it soured the entire reading experience for me.

The Good: Again, the first half of The Special Ones is brilliant. It's dark, creepy, engaging, and everything you want a YA mystery book to be. Esther, Harry, and Felicity were all so interesti
Tania Poole
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was gripped by this story, wondering what would happen in the end. So I found myself reading the last half of the book in one sitting - I think that's the sign of a book your enjoying.

I liked it but didn't love it. Very proud it's an Australian book.

I found that I could not predict what was going to happen while we were watching the house from Esther's p.o.v for the first half of the book - I remember thinking - 'anything could happen' - a twist perhaps, something that changes the whole story,
Clever, disconcerting, and challenging.

Also, very good.
Funky Fish
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very nicely done, Em Bailey. The Special Ones is a suspense-filled novel that involves four teenagers that are forced to fill the roles of four people, Esther, Lucille, Felicity and Harry, by a mysterious man. The four protagonists are kept on a farm and ordered to complete various chores and ceremonies, like "Sharing" and the dreaded "Renewal". Then, when characters start to get out of line, everything falls apart and Esther must decide who she can trust and who she cannot.

I picked this book up
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
""He is the floor beneath our feet and the roof above our heads. He is the walls around us. He is the window through which we seen into ourselves and the door that leads to a better understanding. He is always watching, protecting us. We follow him so we in turn can be followed..."

What a twisted little tale. It's two parts - part kidnapping story and part survival story. Esther, Harry, Felicity and Lucille are 4 reincarnated souls - The Special Ones. They only use the body as a vessel and pass a
Wow! This is creepy and gripping. Esther is one of the Special Ones, living on the farm without any mod-cons and unable to leave. They give online advice to their followers and but can't ask for help. They are always under 'his' control, even though they have never seen 'him'. Esther and the others must pretend to be the people 'he' thinks they are in order to survive. I can't say much more without ruining the story, but if you like YA thrillers you should give this one a go. ...more
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that you just can’t put down. I spent a whole day in an airport, and then on a plane, but I had this book, so I never got too bored. The concept was very unique. It was creepy and intriguing, and I really enjoyed reading it.

I read this in middle school and thought it was amazing. Re-reading it, I expected to still enjoy it but maybe find it to be cheesier or not as good as I remembered. This was not the case. If anything, I like it even more now!
Cassandra Page
This book, you guys. After spending literally months in one world, reading a huge trilogy, zipping through this little thing was like a breath of fresh air.

A breath of creepy, creepy fresh air.

The premise of the story is four young people -- a pre-teen girl, two late-teens girls and a young man -- living in an Amish-style farmhouse where they are forced to play the roles of a long-dead family. Rules govern every aspect of their lives; for example, Esther, the main character, isn't allowed to tou
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, aussie-ya
I saw this in the book store and was drawn to it straight away. I hadn't heard anything about it, but it sounded really good, so I bought it, and I am so glad I did because it was even better than I thought it would be.

I was drawn quickly into the world of The Special Ones. Esther is trapped on a farm, blocked from the outside world and forced to live without technology - except when she is interacting with followers each night, who watch her and the three others on the farm in a twisted realit
Cass -  Words on Paper

I finished this last week but somehow I never updated my status here on Goodreads. I loved it! Despite my early uncertainties I pushed past the beginning and quickly grew absorbed to the plot. I loved following the main character, "Esther", whose real name we don't know until much later in the story. Ugh. I'll have to gather all my thoughts and write a proper review for this book soon... I actually got this one for review.

+ Characters and romance succeeded in evoking this rare and elusive fee
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: yallwest-2017
I was very hesitant with this. I loved the cover and the title was queer enough to catch my interest, but when I read the synopsis I wasn't as intrigued. Followers online? A farm? Meh.

Once the story got going it was perfect. The emphasis wasn't focused on the followers so much as the highly dangerous situation our main characters were in. At one point we got to even have the story told from the point of view of our deluded sociopath, and those were the chapters I craved.

I also appreciated that
John Naylor
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was interesting. You expect something from the first half of the book and the setting comply changes. I think it worked for this novel where other books are split into two to achieve the same effect.

It is creepy in places. It explores the inside of a cult and also goes slightly into why people stay in cults. It has some mild horror scenes and is probably better suited to a slightly more mature young adult.

The writing is constantly good but not quite exceptional. The story is one I didn't e
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-books
Well this was fucking fantastic!
I do not read enough creepy books (well, not enough that are written well).

This story follows Esther - a lovely young lady who is living a sparse existence with two friends. Only problem is that they were kidnapped and brainwashed into believing that this is their life's purpose now, and this "He" is controlling their every action.

The horror of the situation is expressed so well and the two voices used in the storytelling were unique and strong.

I wish Lucille
Amanda Lawford
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-stars
Big Brother meets Amish cult; what a phemoninal story idea. Incredibly unique and in no way predicable like many YA books. It feels very adult, like a good suspence novel by an author such as Richard Laymon. It almost follows the same receipie but with violence against women tamed down. I'm always a sucker for a strong female characters who stands up for herself and doesn't crumble in the face of adversity. The romance is oddly charismatic, it stays within the YA genre for entirely different rea ...more
lauren ♡
I didn't love this as much as I loved Shift but it was still SOOO GOOD!!! Em Bailey is one of my favourite authors and she didn't disappoint. I know a lot of people said they didn't like being inside "his" point of view but I LOVED IT??? SO CREEPY AND UNSETTLING!!!! This was super fast paced and I couldn't put it down. Only thing I didn't think was handled very well was "Esther's" parents, but that's just a minor complaint everything else was great. I loved how the ending was realistic too??? Al ...more
Gray Cox
I feel like I've been reading a lot of books about cults recently, with Seed and all.

This was good, and that's all I really have to say, it wasn't really memorable in my mind.

I wish there had been a plot twist or something really twisted and sinister, I mean, the leader was messed up and all, but I was never really horrified or surprised, it was just the stereotypical "crazy guy kidnaps a group of people and forces them to live his fantasy" cliché.

Maybe I've been reading these kind of books la
Libby Armstrong
Trapped in a 100 year-old Australian farmhouse and forced to play her role as a Special One for the benefit of online followers, Esther is playing for her life. Em Bailey's long anticipated second YA novel puts the s into suspense, and will leave her readers looking over their shoulders for months to come. I was gripped from beginning to end. Very clever ...more
whoever decided to change the cover from this gorgeous thing
to the photoshopped monstrosity it is now,,,, what's your number I just wanna talk
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. YA Thriller - Girl kidnapped and forced to live an old-fashioned life. [s] 3 25 Apr 29, 2020 12:39AM  
Busy Comets Book ...: May book 1 2 Apr 26, 2019 06:29AM  
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McD's 4th period WLC: Post #1 1 5 Oct 27, 2017 09:31AM  

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Em Bailey is an Australian living in Germany where, despite having been a vegetarian for many years, she now enjoys the occasional Wurst. Em used to be a new-media designer for a children’s television production house and is now a full-time author. Shift is her first YA novel, although she has written a number of books for children under the name Meredith Badger.

When she’s not writing, Em is gene

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