Starters by Lissa Price

July 21, 2012


Title : Starters
Series : #1 of Starters and Enders
First Published : March 2012
Publisher : Delacorte Press
Pages : 336
Genre : science fiction, dystopian, thriller
Extras : none
Price : $15.00 (IDR 149k)
Rating : 9.5/10

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.

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Another YA dystopian book I find intriguing besides Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games" and Veronica Roth's "Divergent" (and all three of them are definitely top-notch as movies). Starters is a debut from author Lissa Price, and yeah, this book is definitely a page-turner, not just another great expectation whatsoever. At first, I know nothing about this book (I'm not quite a goodreads stalker), but when I saw it at some bookstore, with its blanc-silver look, along with the circuitry and a cold face of a girl, one eye is gray and the other one is electric blue, and I was, "Damn, what's this one about?!". I find it rare to find a fast-paced young-adult dystopian book with dense science-fiction formula (somehow the super-high-technology aspect doesn't make sense, but it still imaginable and tempting) this fun, thrilling, so futuristic, not to mention safe for preteen (no disturbing language or sex scene). Definitely a catch.

The story centered on a 16-year-old teenager (in the book, they call teenagers as starters) named Callie, who lives in the street of LA with her 7-year-old brother, Tyler and her so-called-bff, Michael. Sets in a post-apocalyptic situation after the biological war that killed thousand people from age 20-80, leaving only starters and enders (those whose ages are up from 80). Children who don't have grandparents or erderly relatives are considered as "unclaimed minors" and are being rounded up by the government in an unsavory institution. Callie and her brother have been running away from the collectors they called as marshals over a year, so that they won't end up in that horrible institution. Unfortunately, Tyler gets sick and Callie must find a way to get some money to make a better living. Her decision lies on a job known as "body bank" in a company named Prime Destinations. The idea is to rent teenagers' bodies to enders who desperately want to experience of being young again (as in surfing, wall-climbing, any other things enders' bodies incapable of). The donor (starters) are usually put in a coma-like sleep, their brain shutted down as their bodies being used by the renters (enders) through some ridiculously-impossible-technology procedure (they're using chips that are planted in the donors' brains, so basically the renters' "minds" are controlling the donors' bodies) for some period times. As the story goes, Callie's body is being rented by some wealthy enders with a wicked intention, as she finds herself controlling her own body (the chip must be malfunctioned somehow), living the renter's life with no one else knowing besides herself and the voice that keeps echoing in her head. More Callie's living the oh-so-lucky life, more she finds out the wicked truth behind the Prime Destinations and her renter's intention about it.

One thing I love about Starters is that the story is unpredictable, as it keeps me guessing and guessing (and usually turns up wrong). Lissa Price surely knows how to hook us quickly in the world. The fast-paced plot never leaves any dull moment; I seriously can't stop reading it. The set choice is smart, taking place in the future Beverly Hills as we-won't-know-it but still is keeping the familiarities. The political corruption and greedy exploitation aspects are definitely stand out in the book. Not to mention the top-notch world & character building, as well as the oh-so-awesome technology and surprising twists (especially at the end).

I love each and every characters presented in the book. I specifically love Callie; she's a strong and determined female heroine. Her courage and bravery are really inspiring. But sometimes, her demeanor (as in the word using gun, driving sports car, her smart mouth -though there're factual explanations about it) doesn't seem right to me, doesn't make any sense (and don't get me wrong, I don't always support her decision). And she indeed seems lost in her let's-hunt-the-bad-guy task, forgetting her main intention; to give her brother, Tyler, a better life (though she's still getting it at the end of the book). One thing that disturbs me the whole time is Callie's dilemma over her triangle-love situation. I will say that Blake and Michael are just another 'decoration' in Callie's life, because there's no deep-desperate love that matters (remember THG's Katniss-Peeta and Divergent's Tris-Four?). But I can't lie by saying I hate Blake, because I'm positively team Blake, despite the big revelation at the very end which is very disgusting.

I will be lying if I say I don't recommend you to read this book, but it certainly is the other way around. Starters is intense, action-packed book, the world you'll gladly step into. This book is a top-notch, I'm telling you and yeah, YOU SHOULD BUY A COPY, like, NOW!

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