Specials was originally supposed to be the final installation in an Uglies trilogy, but I can certainly see why people couldn’t help but write to Scott Westerfeld to explain the “secret definition of trilogy” and beg for another book! Somehow, although I was super-excited to get one more chance to read about the world of the Uglies, I managed to forget to post about this book when I finished… Please forgive my slacker ways!
There have been a whole lot of changes in the world since Tally Youngblood and her friends exposed the truth about the mind-alterations that routinely took place during surgery to make Pretties more complacent. Now, there are a lot of “tech heads” who get high-tech upgrades during surgery and “surge monkeys” who get extreme modifications to stand out and be different. In Japan, there is now a pretty strong “reputation economy” in which a person’s “face rank” (popularity/infamy) dictates his/her power and wealth — a throw-back to the old days when superstars had tons of power and influence just because they were famous. This story centers around a 15-year-old Japanese girl named Aya Fuse, whose goal is to become a famous “kicker” like her brother. She knows that finding a story big enough, and being the first one to kick the story to all the feeds, would boost her pathetically low face rank.
When Aya finds an amazingly kick story — a secret clique called the Sly Girls who enjoy extreme stunts like train surfing — she is torn between remaining loyal to her new friends and finally attaining the level of fame she has hungered for so long. But then, the Sly Girls stumble across something that could be weapons of mass destruction and Aya wonders if she even has the right to keep quiet anymore. Fame always seemed so cool, but kicking this story could put her in the sights of some very dangerous people. Will Aya have the nerve to follow in the tracks of Tally Youngblood and risk herself for the greater good, or is face rank really all that matters to her?