This review contains spoilers for the previous 3 Uglies books!
(Paperback) Extras by Scott Westerfeld
(eBook) Extras by Scott Westerfeld
This book in 6 words:
getting and staying popular is everything
Why did I read this?
If I were to be completely honest, it was just for another glimpse at Tally and David. I probably didn’t give poor Aya the attention she deserved.
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.
– via Amazon.com
It was just as action-packed and fast-paced as the previous Uglies books. We get to travel to Japan with this novel. However, that’s not the biggest change. It’s been a few years since everyone has “woken up” and the world has changed. Aya’s city has developed a new economy based on reputation or popularity. It’s yet another realistic future that seems crazy and yet isn’t that far from where we are.
I liked Aya, the 15-year-old Ugly who is trying to make it big. However, she just could compare to Tally. I think if I would have waited a little longer between books, I wouldn’t have felt the need to compare them. I really enjoyed the supporting characters: Hiro, Aya’s brother, and Frizz, her love-interest who has opted for an odd surge.
Tally eventually showed up and it was really interested to see her from someone else’s point of view. It was also great to see how her relationship with David and Shay had developed.
I’d say if you liked the Uglies series, you would like this. I would suggest taking a day or two between the books if you have a hard time letting go of characters.
I loved the idea of a Reputation Economy! It was hilarious in its similarity to our own society. In the world of Twitter, blogs, and YouTube, we are constantly updating our Feeds and vying for a higher rank. We get great enjoyment out of reaching a higher follower number or getting mentioned by someone more popular than we are.
The funniest part I thought was the subject of how it’s harder to become popular than stay popular. The 2nd popular person in the city (second only to Tally) often posts about what she might wear or what she might eat. Nothing of any importance. I tend not to follow people who I don’t find interesting, but how many Twitter followers does Miley Cirus have…
I also thought that it was very real that everyone jumped at the scary story Aya put together and built it up without considering a less sinister option.