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Specials (Uglies) Paperback – May 3, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up–This final installment in the series is a warning of the dangers of overconsumption and conformity. Set some time in the future, after a human-made bacteria destroyed the modern world, the trilogy tells of new cities established and tightly controlled through brainwashing and a series of operations leading to a compliant society. Tally Youngblood, the 16-year-old protagonist, learns in the first two books that free will and truth are more important than a false sense of security. In Specials, she has become an elite fighting machine, fully enhanced with nanotechnology and super-fast reflexes, and made to work as a Special Circumstances agent for the nameless city that she fled. As in the first two books, much of the story takes place with characters whizzing through the air on hoverboards, but Tally and her friends are in for some harsh realities here. Readers who enjoyed Uglies and Pretties (both S & S, 2005) will not want to miss Specials, but those who have not read those books will not understand much of what is happening. Westerfeld's themes include vanity, environmental conservation, Utopian idealism, fascism, violence, and love. In this trilogy, the author calls for a revolution in our hearts and minds–think The Matrix.–Corinda J. Humphrey, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Scott Westerfeld
‘s other teen books include the Midnighters series, Peeps, So Yesterday, and The Last Days. He divides his summers between Sydney, Australia, and New York City.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Uglies (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse; Reissue edition (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442419792
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442419797
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (348 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Scott Westerfeld's teen novels include the Uglies series, the Leviathan and Midnighters trilogies, and the so-called "NYC Trilogy": So Yesterday, Peeps, and The Last Days. Scott was born in Texas, and alternates summers between Sydney, Australia, and New York City. His next book, Afterworlds, comes out September 23, 2014.

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#61 in Books > Teens
#61 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Robinson on June 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Specials is the final book in Scott Westerfeld's Uglies trilogy (after Uglies and Pretties). In this installment, Tally wakes up from surgery and finds herself part of an ultra-cool team of Specials (bio-engineered, covert law enforcement personnel) called the Cutters. She has snazzy techno-features, like embedded computer chips, unbreakable ceramic bones, and razors that come out of her fingernails. She's the ultimate weapon.

It's a bit disturbing to read a book in which the heroine of the series has been essentially co-opted by the bad guys. Tally now works for Shay, her complex best friend, and is expected to find and betray the New Smokies (her friends of the first book). But she does maintain traces of her former self, and she is particularly motivated to find Zane (her now brain-damaged love from the second book), and convince Dr. Cable to transform Zane into a Special, too. However, when she does find Zane, she is revolted by his weakness, by his not being "special" like she is. She struggles with herself, knowing deep inside that she loves him, but programmed to see the world so keenly that his imperfections grate on her, and so sure of her own superiority that she can't really imagine being with him again.

A series of adventures follow, during which Tally and Shay pull a stunt that turns out to have disastrous consequences, and then set off on the trail of the New Smoke. Tally re-encounters David (her love from before she met Zane), and has to go up against the seemingly invincible Dr. Cable. The ending is satisfying in many ways, although the resolution of the Zane vs. David choice is a bit of an anti-climax.

Overall, I found it a fascinating story, full of unexpected twists, chases, and cool special effects.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By R. Young on January 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Tally has been forced into yet another cruel surgery. And now she is a Cutter (a new kind of Special with flash tattoos, super-fast reflexes, and wolf-like eyes). Tally can think more clearly than ever, but her memory has once again been altered. She now thinks of David and the rest of the Smokies as enemies, and she wants nothing more than to end the Smoke forever. Well there is one thing she wants more......Zane, now severely effected by the brain lesion nanos, is entirely weak. Tally can't even look at him and won't rest until he's a Cutter, too. Shay comes up with a plan to make Zane a Cutter, so that Tally will be happy, and the same plan will end the Smoke forever. What could be more perfect, right? Wrong. Their innocent plan evolves into something much bigger. Someone will die, many will question who they are, and the world will change, forever.

Specials is a brilliant end to the Uglies trilogy. It had many of the same themes seen in the last books, along with a few new themes. The story of the Rusties, billions of people that died from a human-made virus, is told in both Pretties and Uglies. Few of the Rusties survived, all because they went too far environmentally. Specials increases the importance of this small theme from the last two books. It reminds us what happens when we take the environment for granted, and this is the base for the fabulous, unexpected ending to Specials and to the Uglies trilogy.

I encourage everyone to read these books. They are wonderful and do not let you down.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Toni Masters on April 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
'Tally- your special' Tally can still remember the haunting words of Shay's that have destroyed her life a pretty forever. Even the days when she was and Uglie- specials seemed like legendary figures, myths, something people talked about but never saw- Tally would never have guessed in her wildest-dreams that she would become one. And now she was.

Being a special, bring a new and beautiful aspect to the life of Tally. She feels abnormal, everything she sees has a simple and somewhat- crystallic beauty to it. Everything shimmers with loveliness and grace and beauty- life is unreal now, that Tallys a special.

Then Tally is given an offer- to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke- once and for all- whether she does or whether she doesn't, darkness has crept into Tally's life- like a dangerous fume, like pure hatred from a bleeding heart. Whatever she chooses, Tally's life will never be the same now that she is a special.

The third and final book to this amazing trilogy had a beautiful shade of darkness to it. The characters were well-developed, personality changes occured, and the readers grow close to Tally like a weed entwining a fern that had gone from pretty and bonny- to breathtakingly beautiful with a hardness to it.

I have enjoyed reading Scott Westerfield's other books to the series: Uglies and then Pretties. The originality to both of them is wonderful and creative, and over-all adds up to a great teen read, that depicts an amazingly modern world- perhaps the future, for us humans.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By CaterpillarGirl VINE VOICE on September 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a review on the audio book version of "Specials" performed brilliantly by Carine Montbertrand.

I will assume that anyone reading this book has read the previous books in this series. If not than stop reading this review and go read them. The last we saw of Tally Youngblood, she had escaped pretty town and on her own made it to the New Smoke ready to reunite with her boyfriend Zane. Poor afflicted Zane, who took the cure with her and started to experience terrible headaches. At the Smoke, Tally is told by her old beau Ugly David that the cure pills were meant to be taken together (although in their directions they never said so!) and Zane got the Nanobytes that apparently lurved to snack on brain matter nonstop, while Tally got the pill that stopped those Nanos from that third trip to the buffet. Tally realizes that she has cured herself of pretty-mindedness. She is sort of like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix but without the leather outfit or Laurence Fishburne.

Tally is soon revisited by her old friend Shay, who is now a Special by her own choice. Shay wants Tally to be Special too, and whisks her back to Pretty town for yet another operation. Specials are like the Men in Black from our society, you hear of them but never see them, yet you fear them anyway. They don't have the brain lesions, so they aren't airheads like the Pretties. Specials have all sorts of add-ons, for sight and stealth and strength. They have "skintennas" built in so they can talk to each other on a network, they can see in the dark, and have tattoos covering their bodies. They also have wolf like features and sharpened teeth, the better to eat you with my dear!

Tally, as a special, is deadly beautiful.
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