Author: Scott Westerfeld
Series: Uglies. #4
Published: October 2007 by Simon Pulse
The story starts about three years after the end of ‘Specials’, and a whole new society has developed. The main character, Aya Fuse, lives in one of the cities. The city where she lives in is different from the cities we know from the trilogy, where you could just ask the wall for stuff and you’d get it. Nowadays, people sort of have to ‘pay’ for their stuff. Not with money, but with merits or fame. You can get merits by doing good for the government, like getting an education or helping them in other ways. But the most important thing is fame. The more famous you are, the higher your face rank. En the most famous people have the most influence in the city. People try to get famous in different ways. There are the tech-heads, who invent all kinds of special gadgets, and there are surge-monkeys, who try to get famous by doing extraordinary surgery so they look different from the rest of the people. And there are the kickers. The kickers are some sort of gossip journalists who spread gossip and other things word mentioning. The more interesting stories you kick, the more famous you become.
So this is the world our main character, Aya, is living in. Aya is a fifteen year old girl, and she is still an ugly because you can’t get surgery until you’re sixteen years old. Her face rank is 451.369, which is so low she is a nobody, called an extra. She is determined to get famous and she planning to do that by kicking stories, just like her older brother does. To help her with this, Aya owns a hovercam, just like everybody else. A hovercam is a round, floating camera that follows you around everywhere you go. Aya can also communicate with it, send it to other places to film there and because it is floating, it can carry up to two people around.
One night when Aya sneaked out of her window to go to a party to look for interesting stories to kick, she finds a famous girl named Eden who is leaving the party early. Aya decides to follow her, and ends up under the ground where Eden meets some other girls. These are the Sly Girls. Everyone has heard of the Sly Girls, but no one has even seen them and not everyone believes they really exist. The main goal of the Sly Girls is to get a face rank as low as possible, because they believe that the fame system is not right, and they do all kinds of exciting stuff, like mag-leving. This is riding a train with a hoverboard. Eden found out that Aya was following her, but Aya pretends like she wants to be a part of the Sly Girls, so she can kick a story on them later. But when she goes mag-lev surfing with the Sly Girls, they find out about something that is way more interesting for Aya to kick, but also way more dangerous.
While all this interesting and famous-making things are going on in Aya’s lives, she meets Frizz. Frizz is also famous, because he is the founder of the Radical Honesty clique. He invented the idea for a brain-surgery that makes you unable to lie. When he meets Aya at the first party Aya sees Eden, he tells her that he likes Aya’s big nose, and Aya falls in love with her. They get involved, but Frizz’ Radical Honesty gets Aya even more in trouble than she already was.
What I liked about the book
I really liked how Scott Westerfeld had turned the Pretty society into this Fame-society. I absolutely love the city Aya lives in and I wouldn’t think a second if I had the chance to live there. Though there is a real pressure to perform and be famous, the city itself and all the technologies seem so much fun to me. For example Moggle, Aya’s hovercam. Moggle is such a sweet device, it is almost like a person and it is like a real friend to Aya. It would be so amazing if I could have a hovercam as well which I could talk with and that would follow me around and film all the amazing moments in life.
I also really love Scott Westerfeld’s writing style. He has an amazing way of telling the story. It sucked me up and I finished this book in two days, because it was so well written that I couldn’t put down the book. At the end of each chapter there was a question you wanted to be answered in the following, so you just keep on reading until you find out about everything.
The book is really fast. There happens a lot in a short amount of time, which helped to the fact I wasn’t able to put the book down. It was really well-written and a lovely easy read.
What I did not like about the book
Before starting Extras, I had just finished Specials, the last book of the Uglies trilogy. My mind was completely set to more of Tally and her amazing friends and other amazingness. But I hadn’t really looked up what Extras was about, so finding out that Tally wasn’t the main character was a little disappointing for me at first.
Another disappointment for me was the ending. I’m not going to spoil anything, but I had really different expectations about what would happen. This ending surprised me, but not in a good way. It really was an anti-climax for me.
Would I recommend this book?
I would recommend this book to people who have read Scott Westerfeld’s ‘Uglies’ trilogy. Even though I found this book a little disappointing at first, it was still a fun read and it was really interesting to see what has happened to Tally and her friends and what they have been up to after the end of ‘Specials’. I wouldn’t recommend this book to people who haven’t read the ‘Uglies’ trilogy yet, because you need to be familiar with the world they are living in, the previous events and the old characters for this book to make sense.