REVIEW: Starters by Lissa Price
Pub. Date: March 13th 2012
Publisher: Delacourt Press
Pages: 368
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Science-Fiction, Dystopia
Source: NetGalley 

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. 

Rating: ★★★★.5
Book 12 of 50 for the 50 book challenge of 2012



REVIEW: Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.  

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.  

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war— and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.  

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. 

Originally this got my attention because I thought oh, her touch can kill! How Rouge! For weeks it sat on my shelf but after finishing another book I was wondering, what the hell can I read next? Shatter Me was really shiny and let’s face it, I’m a kid so I grabbed off of my shelf and dove right in. 

I was hooked immediately. The writing style is what got me. It’s first person but it’s like being inside of Juliette’s fractured mind. It seems like you’re reading a diary, almost. Now, I said almost. While Juliette has a notebook, that’s not what we’re reading. It’s talked about a lot in the beginning, then some after the middle, but it’s not what we’re reading. These are her uttermost thoughts and at times they’re fractured, fast, jumbled, or clear. Also, the use of strike throughs is fabulous. You get to know Juliette even more. You are inside of her mind. I’ve never read a book that used this strike through technique. It’s new, it’s fresh and it is so, so wonderful.

YA dystopia is a genre on fire. It’s everywhere now with The Hunger Games, Divergent, Gone, etc, but this book, ladies and gents, is so so great it kind of puts them all to shame. Yes, even THG. To me, anyway. Shatter Me has elements of The Hunger Games but also of XMen. You begin to realize there are superheroes in a world gone mad. In a country where the government (The Reestablishment) is a bucket of corrupted lies. Where the citizens are cold and broken. But in all dystopias, there is hope. 

As in all dystopias, in most YAs, there is a romance. Of course there’s a romance. But I find Juliette and Adam so refreshing, so different from most of the ones out there now. I didn’t find myself rolling my eyes every so often at them as I find with even ships I love. Adam needs Juliette as much as she needs him. It’s a perfectly crafted romance that made me have to put the book down and go find someone - or Twitter - to gush about. Because damn, it gave me all of the feelings and then some. That hasn’t happened in a while, YA ship book wise. 

The plot is wonderful. Not too slow and not too fast. It’s just the right pacing that leaves you staying up till 4 in the morning wondering where the last four hours of your life have gone. There are twists, turns, action and romance, all structured superbly. Then there’s the characters. You will fall for each one in their own way, mark my words. Even Sector leader, Waren. Is he a monster? Is he human? Is he misunderstood? Or is he insane? I’m still not sure.

There is no cliffhanger with this book. There is a wonderful ending that will lead right into the sequel set to come out in Feb. 2013. That wait is going to be torture, let me tell you. But I’m sure I will re-read this book many times over between then.

Rating: ★★★★★
Book 8 of 50 for the 50 book challenge of 2012





THE CHEMICAL GARDENS TRILOGY

Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Genetic mutations have festered, reducing human longevity to twenty-five, even less for most women. To prevent extinction, young girls are kidnapped, mated in polygamous marriages with men eager to procreate. Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery, a recent victim of this breeding farm mentality, has vowed to break loose from its fetters; but finding allies and a safe way out is a challenge she can only hope she will survive.

I read Wither around the time in came out this year - late March, early April. I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a great take on the growing dystopian YA genre and thought it was really well written. The author definitely has a way with words.

Now, on GoodReads, the common rating I’ve seen is 2 stars. But, again, I thought it was good and it’s definitely worth a shot!

As I said, it’s a trilogy.

  1. Wither
  2. Fever (Feb 2012)
  3. ??? (???)


T H E M E