Random House, 352 pages
ARC courtesy of Random Buzzers
"In the future, teens rent their bodies to seniors who want to be young again. One girl discovers her renter plans to do more than party - her body will commit murder, if her mind can't stop it. Sixteen-year-old Callie lost her parents when the genocide spore wiped out everyone except those who were vaccinated first - the very young and very old. With no grandparents to claim Callie and her little brother, they go on the run, living as squatters, and fighting off unclaimed renegades who would kill for a cookie. Hope comes via Prime Destinations, run by a mysterious figure known only as The Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to seniors, known as enders, who get to be young again. Callie's neurochip malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her rich renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, even dating Blake, the grandson of a senator. It's a fairy-tale new life... until she uncovers the Body Bank's horrible plan...."
I was totally preparing myself to be blown out of the water with Starters, but... I wasn't. Maybe it was because there was so much hype for this book that I expected much more, but it just didn't happen. Although I did really enjoy the book, it simply wasn't a five-star book for me.
I thought the world building was fantastically executed. I believe that is a key component when making a dystopian book. If the world isn't believable, I am sorry, I just won't believe or care about your book. All of the technology was great to hear about, whether it was the chip in Callie's head, Helena's awesome cars, or Madison's awesome version of a T.V. Everything seemed fresh and believable.
The action in this book was certainly there in abundance. It really was what made the book intriguing for me. If there wasn't as much as there was, I am not so sure I would have enjoyed the book as much as I did. But, there was always some new twist that you had to wrap your head around, and the entire time something doesn't feel quite right. Appropriately, it was like an itch in the back of your brain... something was rotten about the story, but you couldn't quite put your finger on it until things are finally revealed a bit in the end. In other words, Lissa Price does a great job with making you try and guess what was going to come next, but instead she takes a completely different turn than what you saw coming.
Where the story fell flat with me was with the characters. Michael, Callie's friend, seemed to be a sort of love interest... at least, that is the vibe I got from Price. But, I simply could not picture Callie and Michael having anything other than sibling-like love. It didn't help that Michael wasn't really in the book that much. From what I understand, Michael should be more prominent in the next and final book Enders. I did enjoy Callie as a main character. Of course, only being a teenager, she made some mistakes throughout the novel and learned from them. It was very enjoyable to watch her grow into a strong character. Tyler, Callie's little brother, bothered me as a character. I actually feel horrible saying it as he was sickly and such, but it really irked me that he couldn't be a bit more understanding of what Callie had to do. I know he was young and all, but you would think living on the streets would toughen up his mentality.
Starters was all in all a very enjoyable book, even though there were some things that bothered me. I am VERY excited that this is going to only be a two book series, not because it was bad, but because it is a new and refreshing way of writing. Better yet, the sequel, Enders, will be released at the end of this year. And after the heck of cliff-hanger of an ending in Starters, you be able to rest assured that you will know what happens to Callie by the end of 2012!
Rating: 4 stars - I really liked it. Worth buying.