Book Review: Starters (Starters #1) by Lissa Price

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. . . .

Release Date: March 13, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: NetGalley

This was such a neat book.  I loved the unique premise of old people "renting" young bodies.  I usually don't like to summarize a book in my review, but this book was so unique that I couldn't review it well without explaining it a little.

Callie lives in Los Angeles and has been on the streets for a year with her younger brother, ever since her parents died of the plague (released by Pacific Rim countries during what is called The Spore Wars).  Only the very young and the very old received vaccinations, and as a result, the population is now comprised of Starters: kids under 20, and Enders: people over 70.  The new life span is up to 200 years; therefore, the Enders have passed laws protecting their jobs and livelihoods, thereby preventing the Starters from making a living.  Most, if they have no surviving Ender relatives, live on the streets.

To get money to pay for medication for her younger brother, who has a lung condition, Callie goes to Prime Destinations.  She rents her body to a wealthy Ender who wants to feel young again for a month.  But, something goes wrong.  Callie wakes up in her renter's life, and can hear her renter's voice in her head.  Little by little, the evil plans of the people who run Prime Destinations are revealed to Callie, and she is soon in a race to save all Starters, and herself.

I felt like Starters was a little slow to get going, but once it did, I really enjoyed the read.  I loved the relationships and the character growth, especially Callie's growth.  I liked the ending, which although not totally conclusive, gave enough closure that I feel comfortable waiting for book two in the series.  My one complaint about Starters was that I was able to predict some of the events towards the end of the book.  That did not lessen my enjoyment; however, and I will definitely be back to read more from Lissa Price.

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