Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: Extras

Scott Westerfeld
YA dystopia

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.

First of all, that was the worst and most inaccurate blurb I have ever read. For one because I love American Idol. (Well, maybe not this season. Speaking of which, you guys excited for the finale tonight?) and two,  because unlike what it says there,  Aya IS FREAKING OBSESSED WITH GETTING FAMOUS.  DON'T GIVE ME THIS "AYA DOESN'T CARE" OR "A WORLD SHE'S NOT PREPARED FOR". THAT'S WHAT SHE SPENDS THE ENTIRE BOOK DOING.  SERIOUSLY, GOODREADS?
Ok, end rant.  At least on that. 

Blurb aside, if you're an old follower/reader of mine, you know I looooove Scott Westerfeld's work. You can read my reviews of Leviathan and Behemoth here. I read the Uglies series before I had a blog, but rest assured I was head over heels for every word of it. In fact, up until the last third of this book, I loved Extras too. The theme was mind boggling- a world where everything depends on your popularity on the internet. It's a brilliant idea and well done. Everyone has a face rank based on how much people are talking about you on the feeds (feed=  a personal page online). A subtle message to us as to how far our obsession with fame and the internet can go, just like Uglies, Pretties, and Specials explore the boundaries of how far our obsession with beauty can go.

Also, Extras is a really fast paced book, even reminded me of James Patterson's writing a little bit, complete with thrilling technical gadgets that will excite any teenager (me included). What's more, we get fun nostalgic cameos by our favorite characters in the Uglies series:)


There was little to no character development for Aya in this book. In the beginning, all she wanted was to be famous. In the end, all she wanted was to be famous. In the beginning, she was going to do something morally not ok. Later, when asked if she would have done it had such-and-such not happened, she doesn't have an answer. I had expected the author to present the dangers of this kind of system, the addictive-ness, to explore the ethical questions it raises, to have Aya grow and change and get her priorities in order. But he didn't do any of those things. In fact, there was a point where the they discovered something that literally put all of their lives in danger and all Aya could think of was how this story could make her a celebrity.
The other characters were cool and likable, and most of them did grow a little bit. Rating:

1 comment:

  1. I've only read Uglies at the moment - the others are sat on my bookshelf gathering dust right now :( I didn't even know Extras followed a different storyline - but completely agree with you, the theme sounds brilliant!


Hi and thanks for your comment! I absolutely love hearing from you- it makes the whole blogging experience worth it:)

If you have a blog leave me your link and I'll try to return the favor <3