Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review: Starters by Lissa Price

Starters (Starters #1)
By Lissa Price
Publisher:
Delacorte Books for Young Readers

To Sum It Up: Biological warfare has destroyed the adult population, leaving only those under the age of twenty and those over the age of sixty alive. Callie Woodland is struggling to survive on the streets along with her sickly younger brother, Tyler, and their friend, Michael. To earn some money, Callie goes to Prime Destinations, a facility that enables the elderly to relive their youth by renting the bodies of the young. Callie becomes a donor, and at first everything goes smoothly. She does not recall a thing when she wakes up at the end of the rental period, which is how the rental is supposed to work. When Callie regains consciousness in the middle of a rental, she assumes that the chip that has been implanted in her head has stopped functioning properly. What Callie does not know yet is that she is a key part of her renter’s plan to uncover the truth about what really goes on at Prime Destinations.

Review: If, like me, you find the cover of this book creepy, it’s nothing compared to the actual story. Starters is a chilling tale in which seniors (“Enders”) can literally feel young again by renting the bodies of teenagers (“Starters”). The Enders sign a contract in which they agree not to damage their rental bodies, but still, this is one scary idea when you’re the Starter who’s unconscious for days or even weeks inside of Prime Destinations, the company that arranges the rentals, while the renter gallivants around town in your body. This unique premise made me really excited to read Starters, and I was not disappointed.

I hadn’t come across a YA book in which seniors are featured so prominently until I read Starters. In this particular dystopian world, the Enders are completely in charge; legislation in place before the Spore Wars that killed everyone between the ages of 20 and 60 prohibits Starters from working and voting. I thought that putting the spotlight on the elderly was very refreshing, and I especially liked how some of the seniors banded together to expose the shady business being conducted at Prime Destinations.

I have to give the heroine, Callie, a lot of credit for even considering becoming a donor, let alone actually going through with it. She’s been driven to this last resort by the living situation in which, she, her brother, Tyler, and their friend, Michael, find themselves. The trio is squatting in an abandoned building, trying to avoid being seen by the authorities, who place any unclaimed Starters in orphanages where the living conditions are worse than those on the streets. Callie’s decision to rent her body is also heavily influenced by her brother’s fragile health and her desire to see him much more comfortably settled. I admired her selflessness and the courage that it took to agree to become a renter. She also remains pretty level-headed when her third rental goes awry. In that situation, making rash decisions amid panic would have been all too easy (and that would have very likely been my reaction), but Callie keeps her wits about her and stays focused on her goals.

The foundation of the dystopian world of Starters is a little shaky. I would have liked some more details about the Spore Wars, specifically what caused them in the first place. Considering that the wars wiped out a huge portion of the population, I had expected a slightly fuller explanation of what happened. The plot, however, proved to be too riveting to dwell on how this world came into existence, and the twists toward the end of the book really took me by surprise. While the ending definitely leaves you eager for the sequel, there’s also a nice bit of closure. Anyone looking for a different take on dystopian novels should check out Starters.

All in All: Starters features a very original concept that is at once both intriguing and disturbing. The premise alone was enough to convince me to read it. And, come on, you know that the cover has made you at least a little curious about the book!

14 comments:

  1. I have this sitting on my To Read shelf. I bought it on a whim without reading the summary properly until a few weeks later... but I think I might be glad I did. It sounds like an interesting read, at least.

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    1. It definitely is! I think you'll be happy that you bought it!

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  2. YAY, glad you loved this one too, I really enjoyed it and thought it to be a creppy read too :) !! Great review :)

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    1. Thanks Elodie! This book really did send chills down my spine.

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  3. Great review! I'm spooked every time by the cover, but maybe I should just read it. I've read Unwind by Neal Shusterman, do you know if it's alike?

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    1. The cover spooked me, too. I haven't read Unwind, but my cousin did, and judging by what she told me about it, I think that Starters is a little less scary than Unwind. I still need to muster the courage to read Unwind.

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  4. nice! Cant wait for Enders! <3

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    1. I'm excited to read Enders, too! I need to know the Old Man's true identity!

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  5. Ohh I saw this floating around when it first came out, like you the cover is definitely creepy! I did read the summary and found I wasn't very interested in it, that coupled with the creepy cover I kind of just passed it. But your review makes it sound really interesting! And I love dystopian so I think I'm going to give this a go!

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    1. Definitely read it! I wasn't sure what to expect between the cover and the synopsis, but it was a really good read.

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  6. I loved Starters too and I also gave it four stars. Actually, I reallly wanted to give it five stars, but I didn't like the tacked on triangle (at the very end...you know what I mean). :) Everything else was pretty spot-on...although I would also like to know more about the Spore Wars. The whole book reminded me of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse a bit.

    Here is my review: http://thesisterstale.blogspot.com/2012/09/starters-by-lissa-price.html

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    1. I wasn't too crazy over the triangle, either; it seemed a little labored to me. I remember when Dollhouse was on TV, but I never watched it. In fact, The Avengers was the first Joss Whedon work I'd ever seen!

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  7. I have mixed feelings on whether or not I want to read Starters, but the cover pulls to me all the time!

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    1. I was a little freaked out by the cover but at the same time intrigued by it. The cover is very reflective in person and gives it an even eerier appearance.

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