- Wini Ashooh
Imagine a future where teens rent their bodies to senior citizens who want to relive the moments of their youth. In Starters by Lissa Price, this is exactly what happens. A genocide spore killed everyone who wasn't vaccinated in time. Left behind are the very young and the very old. Many children are left without parents or caretakers. They must survive in an unfriendly world where they are viewed as unattended minors and are forced to resort to any means possible in order to survive. If a teen agrees to rent out their body to a senior, they are paid a substantial sum of money. It is very enticing to a starving and homeless teenager.
The rental procedure is done by an organization called Prime Destinations. A senior citizen pays a large sum of money to inhabit the body of an attractive and healthy teen ager for a day, a week, or as long as a month. There are some pararmeters placed on the behavior of the senior renter while in the teen's body but for the most part they can do whatever they want to do. The teen makes a lot of money and the senior gets to relive their youthful days. No problem...right??
Callie and her brother Tyler are alone. They have no grandparents to take care of them. Callie's brother is sick and she is desperate to help him. She decides to go to Prime Destinations and investigate the possibility of becoming a teen who donates her body. She is told that the "mind transfer" is harmless and she will not experience any ill effects from the process. Additionally, she will receive a large sum of money. This is very appealing to her. She needs the money and since nothing bad will happen ...why not?
Callie embarks on much more of an adventure than she originally anticipated. The mind transfer does occur and a senior citizen takes over Callie's body for some time. The process is not as simple as she was told and the effects are more severe than she was told. To top it all off, the senior that took over Callie's body is not just doing it to have fun or even to engage in reckless behavior. She has an agenda and wants to kill a high-ranking politician. The problem is that she is doing it in Callie's body. As if that is not enough, the chip that was implanted in Callie is defective and the real Callie is back in her own body and mentally battling the senior renter.
This book is a fast-paced Dystopian answer to any reader who has a hankering for more books like The Hunger Games. Lissa Price is a fresh new face in the world of Dystopian teen literature and this theme is unique. Readers will find themselves cheering Callie on as she tries to survive in a cruel and hostile world. It has a little romance, a lot of action, and a twist at the end that I did not see coming.