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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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The Special Ones Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
First half: a wonderful gradual creepy introduction into the life of the Special Ones. It was SO WELL DONE. I loved it. It supports and subverts every expectation you have while making the characters so human you can't help but worry about them.
The second half: well, avoiding spoilers makes this tough, but... everything changes. The tone, the flow, the vibe, everything. I can't understand why the magic of the first part of the book couldn't continue into the second. To go from eager page-turning to frustrated eye-rolling in the span of a few pages is impressive, but not in the good way.
The Good: Again, the first half of The Special Ones is brilliant. It's dark, creepy, engaging, and everything you want a YA mystery book to be. Esther, Harry, and Felicity were all so interesting and I was captivated by their lives in the farmhouse. I also loved how Lucille's presence seemed to throw a wrench into it all.
The Bad: The second half of The Special Ones is terrible. It becomes generic, implausible, and basically the entire reason I hesitate to pick up YA mysteries. I didn't like having chapters narrated by the cult leader. I wouldn't have minded aftermath chapters, but the ones we got just weren't good. If it would have focused on Esther, maybe I would have enjoyed it more, but learning about Him or rather the botched story of Him we got, wasn't all the interesting.
In the end, I don't think that I can recommend The Special Ones. The second half just ruined the entire book for me. If you do decide to pick it up and love the first half, be aware that there's an entire shift change in the second half that might ruin it for you.
Now, I liked the first half much better than the second half, but even that half kept me reading. I needed to know what would happen and how it all would end. I may not have loved how it ended, but I was still pretty satisfied.
As for that first half - wow! The book simply doesn't go where you would expect it to - at all. I really went into this thinking it was just another 'girl in a cult who discovers the outside world isn't what she expected book'. I won't give you spoilers. I'll just say it isn't that at all. Every time I *knew* what was going to happen, I was wrong.
I'm very interested in seeing what the author is going to do next. This was a welcome surprise!
This is a very difficult book to review but I will give it a try. I do not want to give away too much and ruin the book for other readers. Esther and “Him” are at the center of this terrifying tale. There are several secondary characters: Lucille, Felicity, Harry, Esther’s mother and father and a few other minor characters. The secondary characters plan a pivotal role in this tale.
Esther, Harry, Lucille and Felicity live on the farm where they are protected by “Him”. They are considered the Special Ones. The Special Ones are immortal through renewal. There are cameras throughout the farm and “He” watches them day and night. They have rigid rules to live by and a simple mistake can mean punishment or renewal. The Special Ones have a following. People contact them through a chat session and ask for advice. Each of the Special Ones are frightened and know they must play their role carefully.
This is a psychological thriller; it reminds me of Room. The first half of this tale deals with life on the farm. It won’t take long for the reader to discover the Special Ones are all abductees. They are forced to live on the farm and living the role they have been abducted to play. Their spirit and their mind is broken until they willingly or fearfully go along with the charade. “He” is the manipulator. The second half of this tale is very different. The writing in the first half is brilliant. The writing in the second half has a different quality. It is still good but I would almost swear that it was written by a different person. The hunt is on to find “Him”. A secret concerning Esther is revealed. Esther is determined to find all the abductees but can she stay out of “His” clutches long enough to maintain her goal. The media plays a large part in the second part of this book, like vultures devouring road kill.
This is a very dark book filled with violent scenes. The author successfully addresses several important topics such as how we treat teenage girls and how the media treats survivors. I think the media is what upset me the most, their treatment of the victim was unforgiveable. Sometimes it seems that anything goes if it gets ratings. I do not think this book is appropriate for young adults under sixteen.
Most recent customer reviews
This was an easy read and quite the page turner.
The author did a great job with Esther.Read more
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