When I was in college, there was this tradition, called "blow-out," that on the last day of classes, many students would start drinking first thing in the morning (or even the night before), and then go to class, water bottles full of alcohol in hand. There were rumors of professors doing shots with their students, and it was a common sight to see students walking around campus with plastic cups*.
Now, I was not exactly a big drinker (or legally old enough to drink, for that matter), so what was I doing on the very last day of classes in my college career?
I was curled up in bed, reading a book that I had randomly checked out from the local public library. And that book was Uglies, the first book in Scott Westerfeld's wonderful futuristic "trilogy."
I put "trilogy" in quotes because, you know, trilogies are supposed to have 3 books... and this specific trilogy ended up having an Extra volume (pun intended).
Extras takes place about five years after the mind rain at the end of Specials, in a city halfway across the world. In this city, which is probably in Japan, the mind rain has resulted in a whole new culture, one based on face rank and feeds, one full of different cliques that try crazy new things (truth surgery, for example).
Fifteen year old Aya has grown up learning about Tally Youngblood and the mind rain in school. Aya, with a face rank of 451,369, is in search of a great new story to kick, and happens upon the Sly Girls, a group of girls who do crazy tricks (like surfing on top of a mag lev train), and try to keep their identities hidden. But when Aya joins their group, she discovers something even more interesting -- something that could mean the destruction of her city.
Like the first three books in the series, Extras is a quick, suspenseful read. What Westerfeld does so well though, is to write these very readable books that are, at the same time, thought-provoking. For example, the society in Extras with the feeds and the face ranks could easily lend itself to a very interesting discussion of today's social networking culture. This would be a great pick for teen book clubs, and, while part of a series, can definitely stand on its own.
*There were also e-mails sent out every year from the administration asking us to "please party safely" and warnings that one could be arrested or expelled. But, as far as I could tell, these warnings were generally ignored.