Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher: Simon Pulse, May 9, 2006
Pages: Hardcover, 384
Series: #3, Uglies
Book Synopsis (from Goodreads): “Special Circumstances”: The words have sent chills down Tally’s spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor — frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally’s never been ordinary.
And now she’s been turned into one of them: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.
The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more.
Still, it’s easy to tune that out — until Tally’s offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she’s programmed to complete. Either way, Tally’s world will never be the same.
Specials is a good ending to a good trilogy (err, wait there is a fourth novel). The Uglies series has been quite a journey and I really loved the creative details about this world. Specials certainly gave me a window into something I hadn’t experienced before.
At first I thought this series was all about the underlying message which I think is basically Scott Westerfeld holding up a mirror to society and saying “Take a good look, kids,” and I still think so. But I also think it’s about growing up and changing. Tally has gone through so many changes so of course she’s going to be different as she grows up but I think if she had never become a Special, she never would have become who she is today: a hero. She’s also a product of her environment but I think it’s a metaphor for how quickly we change when we’re young. That’s not a bad thing: it’s just the way we are and I think Scott showed this through Tally’s evolution over the series.
A lot of YA books focus on the characters’ feelings of adrenaline and how this leads to courage and bravery and I think this illustrates the invincibility most teens feel. Hell, I feel the same way and I’m in my 20s. To feel young is a state of mind and I think Scott paints a true picture of what it feels to be alive.
I think Specials is the ending Uglies needs as a series though I know it has one more book in store for us. If you haven’t read the first two, pick them up!