Synopsis from HMH Books for Young Readers:
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.
About: The Special Ones is a young adult thriller written by Em Bailey. The newest edition will be published on 7/18/17 by HMH Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, hardcover, 304 pages. The genres are young adult fiction, mystery, cult, and thriller. According to the publisher’s website, “HMH is an organization rooted in purpose and strengthened by passion. Our values drive our decisions, shape our strategies and shine through in everything we do: Curiosity, Commitment, Effectiveness and Reliability, Learning, Performance, and Best in Class.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading The Special Ones on 7/8/17 and finished it on 7/16/17. This book is an unbelievable read! The suspense, mystery, and thrill is uncalled for. The story is definitely creepy, yet satisfying. The plot & characters are well played. I love the dual point of views. I love the intensity in the second half of the book where I got to follow the mystery as it unfolds. I devour more than half of this book in two days because I just couldn’t put it down!
In this book, readers will follow the point of view of “Esther”, one of the Special Ones living at the farmhouse under strict rules along with 3 others: Felicity, Lucille, and Harry. Harry’s role at the farm is different than the three Special Ones, varies in age (from high school to elementary school level) where they are to follow a book of guidelines, called The Remembering, on how to be the person in an old portrait in the house. They are being monitored 24/7 via hidden cameras and will be punished if rules are broken. Their main job is to answer questions to The Special Ones’ followers via chat rooms every night. Their living situation is very secluded. They eat what they farmed and no contact with the outside world. The person monitoring this whole charade is “HIM” and no one knows who “HE” is and he gives them a daily “word” to live by, such as quiet or trust. This book started out with a mission. Harry was to go out to collect a Lucille. When she arrives, Harry and Esther follow guidelines to welcome her home. The calm in the farmhouse were shaken up when Harry receives a notice for his renewal. The renewal is scary for Esther because she doesn’t know what will happen to Harry and then someone else comes to take his place at the farm and fill in the role of Harry as Harry. The story intensify when readers get to follow the train of thoughts of HIM.
This book is unlike anything I have ever read before. The first 45 pages were a slow start, but the story becomes clearer after that. I love the dual perspective when HE is introduced. I get so engrossed in reading this book that I didn’t want to put it down. I love the suspense and the mystery. I love following “Esther’s” train of thoughts. She’s a great character and full of determination. I love how she handles everything. I also like “Felicity” and “Harry” too. This book is very well written and the sprinkle of mystery only make you want to turn the pages. I highly recommend everyone to read this book if you are looking for a satisfying mystery!
Pro: suspense, mystery, couldn’t put down, adrenaline rush, fast paced, page turner,
Con: lack of indication for the different point of view
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Author:
Em Bailey is an Australian author of many books for children. Her first novel for young adults was Shift, a psychological thriller published internationally to much acclaim, which won the teens’ choice Gold Inky Award and was selected as a Notable Book by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Em Bailey lives in Germany with her partner and daughter. (Photo obtained from Google search and Info obtained from the publisher’s website).
More information about Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.