Specials is the third book in the “Uglies” series by Scott Westerfeld. The first two books, Uglies and Pretties, introduce us to Tally and her friends. The premise of the series is in a post-Rusty world (which was essentially our society), all kids become Pretty on their sixteenth birthday. Then you get to move out of Uglyville and go to New Pretty Town and party all the time. When you’re a pretty, everything is fun and “bubbly”. (Click here for my review of the first two books.)
After everything Tally and her friends endured in the last two books, the authorities turn them into “Specials” – a distinctly different cruel-looking Pretty with super-human strength and built-in technology. The city’s controllers want to use Tally as their own special weapons. When they get the chance to crush the New Smokies (people who live outside of the cities and don’t get the Pretty operation), Tally finds she is conflicted between her new instincts and her faded memories.
Specials had less social commentary compared to the first two books. While the emphasis was on following Tally’s story, there was underlying themes of thinking for yourself, respect for the natural world, and right vs. wrong. However, this book is definitely not stand-alone; you need to have read Uglies and Pretties to follow the story and characters.