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. . . .
Callie’s world flipped upside down on the day that her parent’s died. She was now solely responsible for her sick, little brother in a world where children were scoffed at, abused, and placed in institutions until they became of age. Her life consisted of squatting in abandoned buildings, the Marshals forcing her to flee from one building to the next. Callie hoped all of this would change when she signed a contract with Prime Destinations, a business that rented young souls to Enders, people who could live to be well past 200 years old. Things began to drastically go wrong, though, when Callie woke up in her renters body long before the expiration date.
In an intense and terrifying struggle, Callie must fight to protect her loved ones, all the while trying to save her own life after finding out her renter’s plans for herself and Prime Destinations. The frightening world Callie has always known becomes even more horrifying after her renter fills her in on the crimes Prime Destinations has been committing for several years. Now, Callie must sort through truth and lies to figure out what is really going on in the world around her, and save the poor young souls of her fellow Starters.
Starters starts out with a really strong plot line that leaves the reader believing they will be reading the next Hunger Games. My eyes were glued to the pages for the first few chapters, and I could not comprehend the idea of setting it down. It was amazing and that was all I knew. After that, things started to slow down a bit. The characters and plot lost their spark. I began to fear that I would not enjoy this novel. Soon, though, my fears disappeared and the story once again picked up. It was never as good as it originally started, but it was definitely a book that I did not want to put down.
One complaint I had with Starters was the fact that so many questions went unanswered. It was not like Lissa Price left the book at a point where she was going to answer the questions in the next book. Instead, it almost seemed as if she expected the readers to already understand what was going on. How did Enders come to exist? Would Starters eventually become Enders? Why were the parents of Starters wiped off the Earth, instead of Enders and/or Starters? None of these questions were answered throughout the entire novel, which made it very confusing in multiple spots. I felt that I was supposed to know something already when there was not a book prior to this novel that explained what was going on. This made for a very difficult and confusing read at times.
This novel had such a unique feel to it that I still find myself excited and curious about how Lissa Price came up with it. Dystopian novels seem to be all the rage lately, and Starters definitely lives up to the standards and expectations of a dystopian novel. It had a fascinating world, brilliant twists, and amazing characters. There were definitely a few things that I would have touched up on, or simply changed altogether, but I was not left disappointed with this novel. Overall, it radiated an essence of brilliance that has left me craving for the next chapter.
I would definitely recommend this novel to fans of The Hunger Games and similar dystopian novels. I believe that Starters will soon aquire a large fan base, and I would not be shocked to see it picked up for film rights. Again, I have to warn readers that parts of this book will be obnoxious, as a lot of questions are not answered. However, the book does make sense, there is just a lot of history of the world not included. I am excited to read more of Lissa Price’s work, and I have a feeling that opinion will be mutual with many of you.
Publication Date: March, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Rating: [rating: 3]
Teaser Quote: “It had been a long time since I’d been happy. A long time since life was just lip gloss and music and silly girlfriends. A long time since my biggest concerns were whether there would be a test or if I’d forgotten my home-work. I was aiming for more like safe, free, and alive.”