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 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.
"This modern-day psychological thriller is as gripping and intense as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl or Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train. . . . Complex characters and well-written dialogue will keep readers turning pages until the breathtaking conclusion. A must-have for YA collections, especially where thrillers are popular." —SLJ
★ "Riveting from the very first chapter, Esther's story is unpredictable and chilling, her narration viscerally revealing the quiet terrors of captivity and brainwashing. The Special Ones don't really have any special wisdom, but the characters—even him—are unforgettable. A complex, enthralling page-turner." —Kirkus, starred review
★ "taut prose, a slick story line, and more than a few startling twists will leave readers mesmerized . . . Striking, subversive, and loaded with as much heart-pounding horror as heart." —Booklist, starred review
" Bailey’s (Shift, rev. 5/12) latest psychological thriller features an impressively eerie tone, goosebumps-inducing atmosphere, and genuine surprises." —Horn Book
". . . a deeply creepy and taut thriller . . ." —Bulletin