Sneak Peek Wednesday: The Special Ones by Em Bailey [Giveaway]

The Special Ones
by Em Bailey
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 18, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Thriller

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.





Unlike the rest of the farmhouse, the changing room is made entirely from stone. It has no windows, just a couple of slits near the ceiling and a mesh grate set into the door around eye level. It’s always dark and cool in there, and I often think that it would make a good place to keep our food supplies in the summer. Maybe that’s what it was originally designed for. But it’s also a good place to keep a newly collected girl. The thick walls almost entirely block the sound of screaming.Harry smokes his pipe by the locked door while we wait for the girl to calm down. Normally at this time I would be in the kitchen, preparing our dinner, washing potatoes and greens for a simple meal. My stomach rumbles. But in these early stages of reintroduction, it’s crucial to stay nearby. So I work on my mental to-do list and the step-by-step strategy for turning this girl into a passable Lucille. The clothes should be easy enough. The previous Lucille’s things are already waiting in a pile on a chair near the bed. Obviously the girl’s hair will need dyeing and curling, but there’s no point attempting that for at least a couple of days. Acceptance needs to come first, or despair. Either will do.

The girl is still moving around the room, raging and yelling, but she’s slowing down now, and her voice is husky from overuse. My own tiredness builds as I watch her through the little grate in the door. She’s a mechanical toy — faltering, skipping, failing. When she finally crumples to the floor, it’s sudden and shocking — as if someone has yanked out her spine.

I give her a minute, and then when Harry nods, I unlock the door. We walk in together, and I lock the door behind us. I pull the pillowcase from the girl’s head. Her face shines from a smeared combination of heat, snot, mascara, and tears.
Our new Lucille.



Meet the author…

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.



Giveaway time!

*US only*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*To check out more stops on the tour, click on the banner below.




8 Thoughts on “Sneak Peek Wednesday: The Special Ones by Em Bailey [Giveaway]

  1. I really like the sounds of this one and the excerpt. Thanks for sharing it.

    Jenea’s Book Obsession

  2. Cults are always fun to read about. Thanks for letting us know about this one.

  3. Oh, I hadn’t heard of this one! Thanks for sharing – I entered the giveaway! I love a good thriller/creepy read. I’m fascinated.


  4. This sounds intriguing, thanks for sharing!

  5. Ohh, I love the sound of this one. Bummer, the giveaway is only available for US 🙁 But I have a virtual US address, it’s like a PO box but is located in the US, would that count? hehe

  6. Nice sneak peak

  7. This would be a great read for Halloween. 🙂

Jump in on the discussion: click on the notify button below to follow along

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Post Navigation