This fourth entry in the Uglies series will keep Westerfeld’s “face rank,” to borrow his own invented slang, significantly above anonymous. Several years after the massive paradigm shift of Specials (2005), 15-year-old Aya Fuse investigates an urgent news story in hopes of boosting her public name recognition—of crucial importance in the celebrity-based system that has replaced Prettytime’s cult of boring, brainless beauty. Aya draws the attention of the story’s possibly dangerous subjects as well as that of Tally Youngblood, now a legendary figure. As usual, Westerfeld excels at creating a futuristic pop culture that feels thrillingly plausible; for instance, the “reputation economy” of Aya’s Japanese city, based on citizens’ blog traffic, cleverly pulls in real-world phenomena from Google rankings to reality TV’s populist celebrities. Too many subsidiary characters and difficult-to-follow action sequences plague the plot’s resolution, but such problems are unlikely to faze followers of this hot-ticket series, who will expect smart world building and rich themes—and will find both in spades. Grades 7-10. --Jennifer Mattson
About the Author
’s first book in the Leviathan trilogy was the winner of the 2010 Locus Award for Best Young Adult Fiction. His other novels include the New York Times
bestselling Uglies series, The Last Days
, So Yesterday
, and the Midnighters trilogy. Scott’s newest book, Uglies: Shay’s Story
, is a graphic novel told from Tally’s friend Shay’s perspective. Scott was born in Texas, and alternates summers between New York and Sydney, Australia. Visit him on the Web at scottwesterfeld.com or follow him on Twitter at @ScottWesterfeld.