Four young people forced to live in a cult-like existence, by a dangerous leader they've never seen who controls their existence by cameras and written instructions.
Esther, (the narrator) has been held captive for two years and must play a certain role or risk being asked to leave the house like past Special Ones. No one knows what became of the others; are they still alive?
The Special Ones live in an isolated farmhouse far from prying eyes and any chance of escape or rescue and are all given roles to play. They must become people from another era who lead lives untainted by technology and present temptations, and exist on meagre rations of food.
They must also perform certain rituals, including modified online chats to approved followers, or risk punishment.
Bailey has done stellar job setting up the cult-like world the Special Ones live in, as they perform the roles He instructs, knowing he may be watching at any time. There are many tense hold-your-breath moments whenever a Special One slips up, knowing that He is most likely an evil psychopath. There were often times when I wanted Esther to run away or defy the rules, but knew she couldn't.
The story really takes off when there's a collusion and events take an exciting turn. No spoilers here, but ... will there be freedom and escape? Will Esther ever be free?
It's wonderful to read Young Adult Fiction thrillers written by Australian authors. Here's hoping plenty more are on the way.
Title: The Special Ones
Author: Em Bailey
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont, $19.99
Publication Date: 1 April 2016
For ages: 12+
Type: Young Adult Fiction