By Lissa Price
Imagine living to an age of 100 plus years. Imagine being able to “rent” a teen’s body, and for a short time you’re “young” again. Sounds intriguing, huh? Especially if you’re of the older generation.
Author Lissa Price’s debut novel, Starters, introduces the reader to sixteen-year-old Callie Woodland, her brother, Tyler, seven years old and a sickly child, and Michael, her friend. They’re in desperate need of a place to stay. Their parents have died as a result of the genocide spores that killed so many in the recently ended war. Callie and hundreds of other young people, saved by a vaccination, are left to fend for themselves. There’s one way Callie can earn enough money to find a warm place to live: Prime Destinations, a business that rents bodies. Enders, the old folks who survived, take over a teen’s body for a week or a specified period. During this time they are young again. The teen whose body they’re “renting,” and who has a tiny neurochip inserted into the back of the head, reclines in a padded chair, under the influence of anesthesia and will wake up without any side effects and best of all wealthy. Or so the theory goes. The author explains in detail how the switch works. As in most ideas, however, sometimes things don’t turn out the way they’re planned. When Callie wakes up after an Ender has rented her body, she knows something has gone wrong. As she attempts to unravel the mystery of what happened so she can get her body back, Callie discovers that people are not always who they seem to be and there is a dark and dangerous side to Prime Destinations.
Starters is a fast-paced read with one surprise after another. Callie is a well-developed character whose concern for her younger brother prompts her to try most anything to keep him safe. The author adds a bit of romance to spice up the story. I’m happy to say the next book in the series will be out in the winter of 2012. Ms. Price has a winner here.
EBook courtesy of NetGalley and Delacorte Books for Young Readers