Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Creepy Pick: The Special Ones

The Special Ones
by Em Bailey
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
297 pages
ISBN: 9780544912298

Creepy, chilling,cult-like and disturbing, The Special Ones will make readers shudder. Esther lives in a farm house and is not allowed to go past the porch because it will anger him. He makes the rules they live by. He chooses the guiding word for the day, and Esther must live the day through that word. Although they have never seen him, they know he is in charge. They know he can punish them.

An old photo of the Special Ones shows four people who look like them. There is a young man with a young  woman, an older girl and a little girl standing  in front of the farm, their farm. When a new girl is collected, she must cut or dye her hair to match the girl she is in the photograph. Older girl Lucille has not been with them for some time. Fans (online followers) of the Special Ones are beginning to question her absence in the nightly chat. Henry will have to bring a new Lucille home soon. Tension mounts when a new girl arrives and causes trouble in their small house. The Special Ones cannot include this Lucille in their chats. Not yet.

Usually girls become docile more quickly. This Lucille is a real fighter. After being locked up in a stone prison for days on end, Lucille comes around and admits she is Lucille, a Special One.

Several years have passed since Esther arrived. She has lived on the farm with Henry the entire time. She barely remembers her life outside it was so long ago. Her world is turned upside down when he reveals that Henry is next to be  renewed.  Esther dreads living on the farm without Henry. A storm ruins the crops and what little they have. If they don't leave soon, they may starve. Every meal, every word, every prayer is broadcast to their followers.

Henry and Esther share a brief moment under the camera's scrutiny and Esther slips Henry a twenty dollar bill that the camera is unable to record. Esther knows though. She is sure Henry will save her.

No one knows what happens when a Special One is renewed. Someone else comes in to take the place of the old Special One. A new Henry will appear but what will happen to the Henry she knows?Esther worries about all of the girls who have left the farm.

Even a well organized plan has its cracks. The mastermind puppeteer  seems to have thought of everything, but what if his plans are ruined by one girl who won't give up? One girl strong enough to find the answers?

Readers will be caught up in the story. I could not turn the pages fast enough. This is one un-put-down-able book!

Highly, highly recommended grade 7 and up. For fans of creepy reads.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

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