Author: Em Bailey
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook
Esther is one of the Special Ones: four young spiritual guides who live in a remote farmhouse under the protection of a mysterious cult leader. He watches them around the clock, ready to punish them if they forget who they are—and all the while, broadcasting their lives to eager followers on the outside. Esther knows that if she stops being Special, he will “renew” her. Nobody knows what happens to the Special Ones who are taken away from the farm for renewal, but Esther fears the worst. Like an actor caught up in an endless play, she must keep up the performance if she wants to survive long enough to escape.
The Special Ones is an original YA thriller that fans of the genre are sure to enjoy. The plot is twisty and dark, full of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing until the very end. I tried to come up with theories throughout the story and most were proven wrong. I do have to admit that some revelations left me a bit disappointed. I don't do spoilers, so I can't go into much detail - but the ending didn't give me the closure I was hoping for. Other than that, the story line was fresh and interesting. I was grossly intrigued to read about the Special Ones and their lives on the farm. I liked getting to know each of them, especially the main character, Ester. The story is told from her point of view, which I was very happy about. Writing style is critically important to me - it can easily make or break a book. The author wrote the majority of this novel from Ester's perspective, which I loved. I liked the deep personal connection the reader can have with her, and I enjoyed getting to know everything about her - thoughts, fears, memories, dreams, and so much more. There was a nice twist towards the end of the book where the mysterious leader alternates with Ester as dual narrators. I loved getting a look inside his head and seeing things from his perspective. It was a fantastic decision that worked great for the book. I think it would've been even better if the author had included both narrators right from the beginning, but at least we get the ending with both. I definitely recommend this one for fans of thrillers, mysteries, suspense, and contemporary fiction.
Em Bailey is an Australian living in Germany where, despite having been a vegetarian for many years, she now enjoys the occasional Wurst. Em used to be a new-media designer for a children’s television production house and is now a full-time author. Shift is her first YA novel, although she has written a number of books for children under the name Meredith Badger.
When she’s not writing, Em is generally getting lost, losing stuff, reading, hanging out with her friends and family, and listening to Radiolab podcasts. Like Olive, she doesn’t like leggings that look like jeans, but has no problem with tofu schnitzels.
(3) winners will receive a hardcover of THE SPECIAL ONES - US Only!
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