Extras by Scott Westerfeld
Genre: Dystopian, Adventure
Published by: Simon Pulse
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon
This book takes place three years after ‘Specials’ in a completely different city. ‘Extras’ is based on a world where reputation is everything. In a Tumblr-esque way, resident ‘kick’ and ‘re-kick’ news stories in order to gain popularity. The more popular you are, the higher your rank and the more privileges you earn as a result. Out of the one million citizens, to be considered famous, you need a ranking of at least 1,000 or above.
It’s too bad that our protagonist, Aya, is about 450,000. ‘Extras’ follows Aya quest for fame and how far the fifteen-year-old will go in order to come out on top.
What was really interesting about ‘Extras’ was how contemporary the society was. Although the world of the Uglies series is meant to be entirely futuristic, it was easy to see how our world could become reputation based. Isn’t it already? Celebrities have the most money, the best houses, the best clothes. In the 21st Century, a lot of people seem to be interested in fame and becoming famous for no reason. It was odd to read a book that posed this society as way off in the future, when the reality was much closer to home. I think that’s one of the reasons I loved ‘Extras’ the most out of the entire series – it seemed so much more relevant and relatable.
Aya is just desperate for fame. Her ambition meant that sometimes her moral compass wasn’t always pointing North. I felt like, throughout the course of the book, is went through some major character development, even if it only happened slowly, and with the help of a handsome, famous boyfriend who couldn’t tell a lie.
Aya felt real. Her emotions were strong and her actions even stronger. In other words, she was a much better Tally.
However, this wouldn’t be an Uglies book if Tally didn’t show her face somewhere. As soon as Tally returned, a started to enjoy the book a lot less. The first forty percent of the novel was devoted to Aya’s attempts to be recognised. As soon as she was recognised, she had to save the world.
Because the focus of the plot changed, so did the pacing. I felt like when Tally arrived, everything was much faster paced, but also more irrelevant. Aya and her friends had to follow Tally to a different country, walking around a jungle because of a miscommunication. I liked where the plot was going to begin with, but once the truth was revealed, I felt like putting the book down. First they were going to save the world, and then they have to stop Tally from destroying it.
Overall, I’d give this book 3 stars. It would get more stars if the second half had continued like the first! However, one of my favourite things about this book was how much it made me think about the society I live in. On the internet, it’s so easy to get caught up in the numbers and forget about the content, and I think ‘Extras’ does well to discuss something so prominent and current.
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