Author: Lissa Price
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Sci-fi
Star Rating: 3/5 Stars
Taken from Goodreads, "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. . . ."
'Starters' had a lot of hype attached to it. It was being toted as the the next 'big' thing. Admittedly, I may have bought into that hype a bit, because I expected a little more than I got with this novel, 'Starters'. The concept is pretty cool-- the idea that people 'rent' bodies or lifestyles is intriguing and something I wouldn't put past people actually doing if the technology were really there.
As far as pro's, I liked the characters. Callie seemed like your typical 'protector' type. The book is told from her perspective and, while it does get a bit tiring being 'in her head' for so long, she's a pretty good lead character. Her supporting characters, enders in borrowed bodies, were, surprisingly great characters. With the first third of the book taking place in Callie's head, these supporting characters were totally welcome, in my opinion! The 'love interest', Blake, turned out to be pretty shallow in terms of characterization, but I think that might have something to do with the twist revealed later in the novel.
Despite the characters, I found issue with a few things in 'Starters'. While I finished the book pretty quickly, I found myself thinking 'where is this story going and when will we get there' a lot more than usual. The storytelling stalled a bit there in the middle, but thankfully picked up towards the end to a good conclusion with a surprising twist.
The other con, I'd have to say, dealt with the world and history. I get that there was a war and that a large chunk of the middle aged population died, but everything else was a bit fuzzy. For example, why do people live so long in her society? The enders aren't just in their 80's or 90's, but in their hundreds. Also, it seemed like the world went downhill pretty quickly after this spore war, which I don't find completely believable.
All in all, 'Starters' was a decent novel with a good concept and some interesting characters, but fell short a bit. Was it a good enough novel for me to continue on with the series? I think so. Would I recommend it to others looking for a dystopian tale? Again, I think so.
'Starters' receives 3 out of 5 stars and is available everywhere books are sold.