by Lissa Price
Expected publication: April 10th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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. . .
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: April 10th 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Format: eARC, 368 pages
Sixteen year-old Callie Woodland is an orphan and a Starter. After the Spore Wars all the people from the ages 20-60 were killed by the disease, which spread faster than the vaccines. The children and elders were immunized first, due to their 'vulnerability', and so were the only survivors post-war. The youngsters are called Starters and the elders, Enders. Due to the greater numbers of senior citizens, that started to be able to reach over 250 years-old, it became forbidden for teenagers under the age of 19 to work or vote, hence giving the control of the work space, politics and economy to the elders.
Minors without live grandparents or any other family are forced to live on the streets, eating scraps and living in abandoned buildings. They are called squatters. Callie, her brother Tyler and her old neighbor Michael are squatters. The only other option is legalized slave labor. Or maybe not... there is Prime Destinations, aka, the Body Bank. There, teenagers rent their bodies out for Enders, so they can enjoy youth, parties and sports again, for a limited time and astounding fees. Callie needs the money, but finds the business suspicious and outright creepy. But little Tyler has a rare lung disorder, and as he gets weaker and weaker, Callie gets more desperate. She decides to sign up for the job, the promise of money, medicine and food being too tempting.
Things go well during the first tries, but when she's hired for a whole-month contract, she wakes up in her own body, only 1 week after being put to 'sleep'. But why is she in her body when there are still 3 weeks of rent to go? Where is her renter? And whose voice is it inside her head, constantly repeating: Callie... important... do not go back to Prime Destinations... ?
As Callie starts to dig deeper into Prime Destinations, she discovers a far scarier and even more dangerous plan than just body rental. A plan that is enforced by the Governor and the wealthiest Elders. A plan that can affect the future of all Starters. For worse.
I loved that in this book nothing was what it seemed. As a matter of fact, no ONE was as they first seemed to be. When you finally think you got it, you discover that, nope, siree, still getting there. Of course that from the first page you automatically know that the body rental business will be super shady, but you never expect real humans to actually try and take it that far.
It was really hard for me to accept how the Enders/elders mistreated, abused and explored minors. They really couldn't care less about the children around them, even their own family. They were selfish, shallow, absurdly rich and mean. Maybe it was a way for the author to criticize how teenagers mistreat, deprecate and belittle their elders? A way to show us how things could be if it was the other way around? Anyway, it was a scary sight. No sweet old ladies and good ol' grandpas in this book. To them, the younger they are, the less they are worth... until their young, fresh bodies are needed, of course.
Callie was undoubtedly a strong and smart character, but it did get a little tiring to see how she always acted on her own, with no one's help and almost never really interacting with other people, except when she pretended to be her renter for a few minutes. The longest interactions she had (and the most interesting) were with Blake. I'd like to have seen more of her and Michael or even her and her brother.
Starters was a very interesting book and I can't wait to see what happens in the next volume, Enders, that is expected to be released by the end of this year. Hopefully there'll be more romance. :P
If you like your YA dystopias with lots of action, drama and suspense, go for it!!
*I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*