Publishing Info: March 13, 2012 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 22, 2014
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...
I had been meaning to read STARTERS for a really long time and then finally decided to dig in just recently! After a dystopian overload (self-induced. I was obsessed for a looong time), I took an unofficial break and started to come back to some of the dystopian books I had been putting off. I’m glad I got back around to STARTERS because it was actually quite different from what I had expected!
To be honest, STARTERS was kind of back and forth, up and down for me. I was really impressed with the beginning — the writing, the plot, the characters — all things I was really enjoying! Then about halfway through, the little things started to get on my nerves. I think it’s just a personal preference, but I’m starting to really tire of the younger sibling that the older sibling needs to save, and I really don’t like younger siblings under the age of 11 or 12. It seems arbitrary, but I think it really brings the tone of the book down and I don’t like listening to characters lying to one another to “protect” each other and this happens a LOT with younger siblings. I also don’t like the voice it brings to the book because the very young children always seem so unintelligent. I mean, it’s hard to gauge what a seven or eight-year-old really knows and can handle but I feel like it’s a lot more than you’d anticipate. Extreme naïveté tends to get on my nerves and I just don’t like how childish a lot of the young children in YA books are portrayed.
Anyway! That pet peeve aside, there was another part where I felt like the book strayed just a bit and I wasn’t sure where it was going, but STARTERS started to pick back up for me a little after halfway. The action picked up and plot started to come back together. One that I really didn’t anticipated were the little (or BIG) surprises! For whatever reason, I just didn’t expect them so I was happy to see Lissa Price throw in a few curveballs! There was one hunch I had since the beginning that I thought wasn’t going to touched upon BUT it showed up at the VERY VERY END. Neither confirmed nor denied, but let the door open and that left me excited for the second book, as well as a few other twists towards the end.
The romance in this book was interesting as well. Personally, I was a Michael fan. I love the best friend and protector so right from the start, I was hoping for a romance between the two of them. What I got was sort of a love triangle but really not because Michael and Callie were separated almost the entire book. I didn’t entirely mind, though I was wondering how things would wrap up and let’s just say… you won’t believe it.
I’m not 100% sold on the plausibility factor of the book, but it definitely makes for a creepy, futuristic topic and brings a lot of questions of morality and rights into play. At times, I would have liked for a few more reveals and others, I would have appreciated less detail. Either way, it was really enjoyable and I’ll probably be searching out the sequel to see what happens next!
Callie // Character Obsessions: Tyler, money, surviving, Prime Destinations.
I actually got along quite well with Callie. She was tough and willing to take action but at the same time, had a soft side, especially for her friends and family. Then again, what heroine doesn’t, really? Anyway… I did like her attitude and determination and she wasn’t stubborn like I feared!
The Old Man // Character Obsessions: Secrets, Prime Destinations, money, greed.
The Old Man is the villain of this story and boy is he CREEPY. We don’t know a lot about him at first and I actually had a couple theories that didn’t pan out (although I think they would have been cool haha) and he seems to be preeeetty evil. The things we find out about him in the end of the book just made my skin crawl so I vote thumbs up for a good, spine-chilling villain! Maybe a bit overdone at times, but I’m still dying to know more about him!
Kept Me Hooked On: Creepy villains. This guy freaked me out. There is way too much that people don’t know about him — even his associates! — and hellooooo. Old Man!? Old men just make the creepiest villains sometimes. Not sure why but I surely get skeeved out!
Left Me Wanting More: Believability. While the concept was interesting and chilling, I didn’t quite believe it would ever happen. Just the old and the young left and the old renting young people’s bodies? Creepy, but not entirely plausible to me. The dystopian books that truly hit close to home are the ones that really get to me!
I think this book could really go any number of ways with the general YA-reading audience. For me, it landed on a good, solid “LIKE” but not quite love. I had very minor issues that I’m sure wouldn’t bother a lot of people, but even without those, it wasn’t quite off the charts.
(Click the cover to see my review!)