Extras (Uglies #4) by Scott Westerfeld
Hardcover, 417 pages
Published October 2nd 2007 by Simon Pulse (first published January 1st 2007)
~Rating: 3/5 stars~
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 Aya doesn’t care; she just wants to lie low with her drone, Moggle. And maybe 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
Extras starts 3 year after Specials. It’s the same world, but different characters. This one revolves around Aya and her friends. They live in a city in Japan where popularity, or face rank as they call it, is what matters.
Aya Fuse is a 15 year old ugly living in a city whose inhabitants will do anything to raise their “face rank”, a listing that shows who is the most popular in the city and confers upon them special benefits befitting the famous. In an effort to get out of the ranks of unnamed extras, Aya goes undercover to break a story about a group of rebellious girls who are largely considered to be an urban legend. Instead, she finds herself involved in a massive story about alien-like creatures who are apparently plotting to destroy the world.
I didn’t like this one as much as the others. I kind of missed Tally and I found this city very strange and a bit excessive. Aya wasn’t as likeable as Tally. She was self-centered and not very intelligent. Aya and her friends are as shallow as you would expect residents of their city to be. I just couldn’t connect to the plot as well and I don’t think it added much to the series overall.
I loved the initial three books but truly found this add-on to be an “extra”! What drove the Uglies plotline so well was the buildup and suspense about what would finally happen to Tally. Although Extras presents an interesting and consistent plot, it has none of the pull of the original trilogy.
However, despite everything, the book was not a total loss. It was still a fun and light read.
Scott Westerfeld is a New York Times bestselling American-born author of YA sci-fi literature. He was born in the Texas and now lives in Sydney and New York City. In 2001, Westerfeld married fellow author Justine Larbalestier.
His book Evolution’s Darling was a New York Times Notable Book, and won a Special Citation for the 2000 Philip K. Dick Award. So Yesterday won a Victorian Premier’s Award and Midnighters 1: The Secret Hour won an Aurealis Award. Peeps and Uglies were both named as Best Books for Young Adults 2006 by the American Library Association.