REVIEW: Starters by Lissa Price
Pub. Date: March 13th 2012
Publisher: Delacourt Press
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Science-Fiction, Dystopia
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… .
Let me start off by saying this is one of the most brilliant YA debuts I have read in a while. I absolutely adored this novel. It has everything I want in a dystopian read: fast paced, originality, great characters, lots of action, and lots of feelings because of said characters. The world Price weaved was scary. Like a lot of dystopians you’re left with a sense of foreboding. This world, or something like it, could actually happen in the future. Near or far, it’s hard to tell, but it’s a possibility. The world of Starters is especially unnerving because it seems so realistic, so like something that could happen down the road. A world gone mad because of war, a country cut off, half it’s population dead. You’re either really old (an Ender) or a minor (a Starter) and if you’re a Starter with no living relative, you’re doomed to live in the streets or in prison like Institutions. Scary, right?
Then there’s Prime Destinations: a company where the unclaimed minors can go to rent out their bodies to wealthy Enders. Yep. They rent out their bodies. They take over for however long they pay for. They walk around as a teenager while their real body is safe at PD’s headquarters. The book opens with Callie walking in. She needs money to take care of her sick brother and if she rented out her body to Prime, she would have more than enough for a house and food for a year for them. But she’s reluctant at first. She’s weary of the contract, of everything but in the end she has no other choice.
But then Callie wakes up… the rental is not over. She wakes up in the middle of a nightclub and is able to communicate with the renter. That’s when the ball gets rolling. That was when I thought wow this book is going to be hard to put down.
I’ve read a few reviews that have said some of the characters don’t have chemistry. I don’t see that. I think there are things to develop and flesh out more with certain characters but it’s a series. What about Michael, for example, but I’m sure things will be developed further in book two. I also hope we learn more of Callie’s backstory in book two. I don’t think we got too much of it. There was some, and enough to kind of tide me over, but I really want to know more.
All in all, Starters was fantastic. However, the massive cliffhanger made me want to claw my face off because I’m not sure how I’m going to wait for the second instalment.
Book 12 of 50 for the 50 book challenge of 2012