Tuesday, February 26

Starters: Book Review and Giveaway


Lissa Price

Delacorte Books for Young Readers
March 13th 2012
Young Adult | Science Fiction
Official Blurb - 

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. . . .

This book is almost nothing like you would imagine it to be. The cover is creepy. When I first saw it cyborgs came to mind or even robots that have evolved to mimic humans. So not the case. When I first read the synopsis I was horrified. I most definitely did not like the idea of old people renting (using) young bodies for their own amusement. The idea just makes my skin crawl. Between the cover and the synopsis I passed my first opportunity to read this book. But then I ended up meeting with the author. She was so fabulous. I was able to discuss her book a bit with her and it piqued my interest enough that I added this book to my shelf. Nearly a year later I have finally managed to unearth it.
There is this point where Callie is facing a decision to be a donor but she is unsure. To her mind comes some advice from her mother. "She said always sleep on an important decision." I couldn't help but think Callie would have been better off with the advice my mother instilled in me. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. I mean come on girl. Nothing about life should instill any sort of trust in this completely bogus contract. I would like to think that people are used to the idea of fine print. A lack thereof is a sure sign that something isn't right in our bureaucratic society. There are so many red flags. But surprisingly even though Callie is clearly walking willingly blind into this trap it isn't annoying.

This story has some serious layers. Just when you think you have the plot figured out the entire foundation shifts and you find yourself looking out on a new view. Just keeps you on your toes. Good guys and bad guys have changed places. Safety and danger even switch places. Nothing is what it seems.

Great googly moogly what an ending! Suddenly it was like there were vipers all around her. All I could think was 'RUN!'
I feel really sorry for Callie. She has it rough. Nothing is safe. Trust is something that will end with a knife in your back. Manipulation is par for the course. Even love, one of the greatest joys in life, is poison. How she can hold up against the tide that threatens to eat her up from the inside is amazing. She really is a great character to follow. Very simple and yet catching.

Can I just say the old people are even creepier than the synopsis hints at. Right from the very beginning their smiles are just wrong. The way they look and carry themselves is nasty. They are living to be two hundred years old. Having life extension and cosmetic surgery like a simple outpatient experience. They walk around feeling so superior and entitled that they don't even bother to realize the importance of training and caring for the rising generation. Hello, they will eventually be the future. It got to the point that all their self-importance made me grateful that old people don't live that long in reality. I couldn't help but think that this is exactly why it works out the way it does. That isn't to say that I haven't tossed around how great it would be to have my teenage body back with the wisdom I now possess. I am sure I would take better care of it. But I don't want another person's body. *shudders* Although I suppose as a society we do spend too much time idolizing the physical appearance of others. Then unbidden came a nasty thought to my mind. All these old people want to experience the young years again. And I thought about how I as a middle-aged parent I am reading young adult novels. In a way aren't I doing something similar? Oh no, I might possibly be on my way to becoming a creepy Ender. Thank goodness this sort of technology isn't available to me. Temptation breaks down barriers after long enough.
The Old Man , the villain, actually cracks me up. I have so many ideas for who he is. Some of them are really disturbed. When he was pulling his fancy illusion I just imagined myself laughing at him. I mean really, a changing holo face sounds a bit dumb. Especially with the metallic voice. I kept thinking Darth Vader. And I just wanted to laugh and say okay knock it off and act your age.
So the story was far more entertaining than I expected. It was full of twists and turns that will leave you feeling scarred. Or at least with a full sense that Callie is certainly scarred from all of her adventures. It is a fast paced book that will keep you on your toes. Before you know it you will be facing that startling conclusion and be left with an urgent sense of danger and need for more pages.

Violence: Moderate


US Only
Must be 13 or older 

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