By: Lissa Price
Published By: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Series: Starters (#1)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Buy the Book: Amazon
Goodreads Summary: HER WORLD IS CHANGED FOREVER
Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.
He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined...
Talk about eye-catching - and slightly creepy - covers. I knew I wanted to read this book from the first time I saw it. The premise was no less intriguing, and the story itself kept me thoroughly engrossed throughout the book.
Since losing her parents in the devastating Spore Wars, Callie has taken it upon herself to care for her younger brother Tyler. Along with her friend Michael, Callie and Tyler have a makeshift home in an abandoned building, scrounging the streets for food and desperately trying to avoid the marshals that would send them to prison. But life is hard with no money, especially when Tyler needs medicine, so Callie turns to her last resort: Prime Destinations, an organization that rents out young (Starter) bodies to the older generations (Enders) for days or weeks at a time. Even though Callie has serious reservations about this, she needs the money. At first everything seems to be fine, and Callie sees no reason why she won't get her money. But then something goes wrong with one of her rentals. Suddenly her mind is back in her body even though the rental isn't over. To make matters worse, the renter's voice is still somehow inside her head. Soon Callie finds herself caught up in a plot that could affect the fate of thousands...
Remember how I said that the cover for this book was a little creepy? I think the premise is too - letting other people take over your body and do whatever they want with it? I don't know about you, but I have no desire to sign up for something like that. It speaks to how bad conditions were for Callie and other Starters that they turned to Prime Destinations; Lissa Price does a very good job of portraying Callie's situation so that you can't help but hope that things work out for her. After one of Callie's rentals goes awry, it's a complete reversal - instead of the renter borrowing Callie's body, now Callie is borrowing her renter's life. She's suddenly living in the lap of luxury, making new friends (even if the friends are other Ender renters), and growing closer to Blake, a senator's son. But once Callie starts hearing the voice of her renter, she realizes that something much more was motivating this particular rental. There are two dimensions to the story - that of Callie's new life and what's going on behind the scenes. I really enjoyed both aspects and the way that things eventually came to overlap.
There is so much that I could say about Starters, but part of the fascination of this book is solving the mystery along with Callie. There are shocking twists, things that I never saw coming, and scenes that had me yelling at the book for various reasons. Two people I do have to mention though - the Old Man, who definitely contributes to the creepy factor of this book, and Sara, who is one of my favorite characters of the story. Why, you ask? Well, like I said...you'll have to read to find out :)
Starters adds a fresh story to the dystopian genre, full of mystery and suspense. Even though there is some closure at the end of this book, there is definitely more to this story. I will look forward to reading Enders!