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EXTRAS by Scott Westerfeld

EXTRAS

By Scott Westerfeld

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4169-5117-9
Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

A thought-provoking add-on to the Uglies series. Three years have passed since the mind-rain, when Tally and the Cutters freed the world from bubblehead surgery. Now cities create their own cultures, blending old traditions (lost for centuries) and new technology. Fifteen-year-old Aya lives in a Japanese city structured on a reputation economy. Each person’s fame rank (re-calculated constantly) determines their material capital, so getting noticed (for anything from a tech/fashion fad to groundbreaking science) is everyone’s priority. Everyone except the Sly Girls—a clique doing mad physical tricks, but, shockingly, incognito. Attempting to kick (blog) their story, Aya discovers unrecognizable beings stockpiling missile-like objects. Are they surge-monkeys? Aliens? Or has society regressed to mass weaponry? When Tally and Shay appear, suspense heats up. Westerfeld excels at showing the emotional underpinnings of a fame economy: Aya experiences obscurity panic, feeling “unreal” unless her actions are recorded. The dénouement is thin and rushed, but the fast action, cool technology (eyescreens, manga faces) and spot-on relevance to contemporary Internet issues provide plenty of adrenaline. (Science fiction. YA)