The books include:
- And then Extras, which has some of the same characters in it but takes place about 3 years after the trilogy.
Tally Youngblood lives in a world where at age 16, all citizens of her city go through surgery to make them pretty, perfect, and attractive. The idea being that it is supposed to take care of some of the inequality that was felt when people came in all flavors. Is this a utopia or is it simply a science experiment?
Tally escapes with her best friend, Shay and discovers that it really may all be a science experiment after meeting the people of the Smoke, a place where Pretty-ism hasn't taken place. Tally eventually returns to her city with the understanding that she will try a cure.
After Tally is "Pretty," she tries the cure with mixed results but discovers that she has it within herself to change her mind. Meanwhile Shay has found another way to cope by cutting herself. Eventually the evil Dr. Cable figures out what's going on and turns Shay and subsequently Tally into one of the elite Specials, beings meant to keep the peace of the cities. Tally is eventually able to bring on the mind rain, showing all of the citizens how to break free of the mental chains that Pretty-ness creates. Tally remains a Special to keep watch over the cities in this new era of freedom.
Overview of Extras:
3 years after the mind rain, Aya Fuse is one of the Extras in this brave new world. Extras basically have to make their own way in the world. Aya lives in a Japanese city run on the reputation economy. Whoever is most popular wins. All Aya wants is to be famous like her brother so she goes looking for an amazing story that she will hope will boost her popularity. She falls in with the so called Sly Girls and learns how to ride the Mag Lev trains. Aya thinks that alone could make a story for her until she discovers something bigger and fantastically dangerous that could change the entire world. Tally Youngblood returns to put things right.
My two cents:
I liked this series a lot. It's an interesting concept, particularly for a young adult series. I think many of us at one point or another in our lives has thought if I only could change my weight/height/face/hair/[insert other thing] then my life would visit. This series looks at what world wher you have the ability to change that could possibly look like. It's a little creepy.
Out of all of the books, I think Extras was probably my favorite. A lot of times in books and series, you don't get to really see how everything ends or where your favorite characters end up. In a lot of ways, Extras plays that extra chapter to the whole series. You get to see what happens to Tally after she changes the world. I thought the book tied up all of the loose ends and answered all of the questions that I had at the end of Specials.
Overall, I think Westerfeld does a great job with showing the reader what this strange world that Tally and Aya and the other characters live in (I really want to see what those Mag Lev trains look like!). It's a great series of books and definitely a fun, sort of light read.
And can we just talk about the covers for a sec? I love these covers! In the first three, you can follow Tally's transition from Ugly to Pretty to Special. Extras shows Aya as she is. I thought it was a nice visual but didn't give too much away.
I got this entire series from the library!
3.5 out of 5 stars